Canadian

Gift Guide: Back to School

I know. I know. It’s only early August, and I’m talking about back to school. This does not meant that the summer is nearing an end. It just means that we’ve got back to school shopping on the brain! As per usual, I’m happy to welcome Daniela back to the blog. She’s a whiz at gift guides, and her Back to School Gift Guide certainly doesn’t disappoint.

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Whether you’re sending your children off to nursery school or Montessori or they are heading back to grade school this September, this list of must-have back to school items will ensure your child is well prepared for the year ahead.

First up is an item from the proudly Canadian Green’s Your Colour. I have owned a Green’s Your Colour bottle for a few years (and even featured it in this holiday gift guide). I use it daily for cold beverages in the summer and hot infused teas in the winter. This food grade bottle has the capacity to store many food and beverage items. Buying your child one for their upcoming school year will ensure they have a superior water bottle that can easily  store a hot lunch or snack without leaving any flavour residue after it has been washed. I can attest to its durability and quality as mine is now three years old, and it still looks and functions like it’s new.

Dino Stomper, $35 CAD, Green’s Your Colour

Next up is an item from another Canadian company – So Young. The company’s  owner,  Catherine, is not only passionate about what she does, but she has overcome so much in her life. Read her inspirational story. So Young’s line of products is not only well-made and well-priced, but it has the cutest selection of bags for you, your toddler, or your child. Here’s the child-sized backpack, but note that many backpacks come in a toddler version as well.

backpack, $55 CAD, So Young

And don’t forget to add a So Young lunch bag and ice pack while you are at it!

unicorn lunch box, $35 CAD, So Young

ice pack, $13 CAD, So Young

Next up is this great lunchbox that ensures you can pack your child a variety of food items while keeping everything separate in an all-in-one container. The company – PlanetBox – has three options, but the Shuttle or Rover are recommended for children.

Shuttle lunch box, $39.95 USD, PlanetBox

Rover lunch box, $55.95 USD, PlanetBox

Tiny Trendsetter is a Toronto-based store that offers shipping across Canada and the United States. The store has you covered with the trendiest styles for your little ones. Tiny Trendsetter carries many mainstream labels we all love, but what I love most is their focus on smaller independent labels.

A must-have for fall and winter are these super comfy feels-like-joggers-but-looks-like-jeans. The Beau Hudson “jegs” are not only super stylish, but they are also super easy for your child to put on and off themselves, making for easier mornings (and easier washroom breaks at school, too!).

Beau Hudson Jegs, $59.99 CAD, Tiny Trendsetter

This packable, 100% waterproof jacket should be a staple in your child’s backpack. It is good for wind and rain ensuring your child is always ready for weather changes.

Packable jacket, $54.99 CAD, Tiny Trendsetter

A staple for my own child’s wardrobe is this zip-up hoodie from Toronto’s Mini Mioche. I have replaced my daughter’s hoodie every time she outgrows it as it’s light enough for her to wear all seasons, and she is always cozy. Those early fall mornings will call for an extra layer, and this hoodie, which comes in many colours, is the perfect wardrobe staple for back to school. What’s even better is that it is designed and made right in Toronto.

hoodie, $48 CAD, Mini Mioche

Hope you enjoyed my back to school gift guide! Until next time, happy shopping!

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Thanks for this gift guide, Daniela! Of course I, too, enjoy a nice water bottle, since I’m never without one, and the little packable rain jacket reminds me of my old K-Way jacket!

Food: Langdon Hall’s Tasting Menu

Have you ever had a dining experience that renders you speechless? And if you’re like me – someone who loves words, writing, and language – such an experience becomes that much more remarkable.

Last week, as an early celebratory treat at Langdon Hall, I was fortunate to enjoy Chef Jason Bangerter‘s tasting menu. It was heavenly. Ten beautiful, dramatic, and delicious courses served over the period of several hours made for an incredibly memorable evening.

Let me take you through a bit of the experience today, since I love a good walk down memory lane. (And I love Langdon Hall, as you must know by now, too!)

The tasting menu started off with a terrine (kind of like a paté) served on a pig’s skull. Yes, a pig skull. I realize this could be disturbing to some people, but it wasn’t for me. It was wild.

Next up was a crispy sunflower root. Inside was a purée of seeds, summer truffle, and thyme.

Then came the caviar. This was paired with a deviled egg, brioche, and crème fraiche.

The presentation of the sea scallop was beautiful. The scallop was in its own shell, surrounded by a backing of “trees.” Then water was poured into the bowl, producing a beautiful smokey mist. Gorgeous. (Note: Simply B‘s photo captures this dish beautifully.)

The asparagus with a lemon verbena sauce came next. Veggies have never looked so pretty in my own home!

Next came the fried pork belly with rhubarb and rhubarb sauce. I loved the combination of sweet and tart of this dish. Along with the sunflower root and scallop, this was one of my favourites of the menu.The lovely hen mousse came next. The creamy mousse was paired with morels.

Veal with peas and truffles was the final main course on the tasting menu.

As a palate cleanser, we were served orange and rum ice cream (aka The Creamsicle), which was topped with marigold.

For dessert (my fave!), we had Langdon Hall’s signature milk chocolate with caramelized butter croissant, Ontario black walnuts, and wild blueberries. Divine.

And because one dessert is never enough, the meal ended with a mignardise (a final sweet treat).

Amazing, right? Oh, the flavours and the presentation of each dish was amazing. Truly memorable.

I know the attention is on the food in the post, but there’s much more to it at Langdon Hall. As you’ve read here before, the service is top notch, and the decor is beautiful. I absolutely enjoy speaking with the Langdon Hall staff. Everyone I have met over the years is genuinely interested in what they do and the contributions they make to guests’ experiences.

Even on a very busy evening, Chef Jason Bangerter comes out of the kitchen to greet his guests and to ensure everyone is enjoying his creations. It was also a pleasure to meet Sous Chef Steffen. I know I’m not the only one who appreciates Chef’s creativity and his love of local flavours.

Many thanks to the following Langdon Hall crew for making our evening special: Chef Jason Bangerter, Sous Chef Stefan, Greg, Evan, and J.J. Thanks to Anna, too, who always makes me feel like a part of the LH family.

Personal: 5 Things on My Mind

Here’s a bit of what has been on my mind – and in my life – lately.

1. Plants. I am so pleased with how two of my plants are currently growing. The first is my avocado plant that I started to grow from seed way back in the fall. The second is my fiddle leaf fig that I had cut back a long while ago, and it’s only now sprouting new leaves. So exciting!

2. Kingston. I took a trip to Kingston a couple of weeks ago, and it made me so happy to go back. I lived there for two years, and every time I visit, happy memories trickle back into my brain. I’m thankful that I’m able to continue making memories there even during very short visits.

view of my old waterfront apartment and balcony

3. Heated floor. The One Room Challenge is over, and my bathroom/laundry combo room is done. But when I saw this photo from the team at Warmup, it brought back memories of planning. I like the layout plan of my heated floor (photo source).

4. Art. When I was at Ines‘s house a couple of weeks ago for an essential oils party (with Christine and Hollie), I was impressed by all the art she has around her home. This sweet little piece by Frances Hilary Hahn really made me smile.

5. Elora. I drive over to Elora several times each year. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Waterloo, and it’s such a pretty town for a day trip. It was nice to see the progress of the Elora Mill, too. I’m thinking that the place will be pretty great once it’s all done. I look forward to taking a tour – and hopefully planning a longer stay, too!

That’s all for now. What have you had on the go lately? What’s been on your mind?

Marketplace: Mother’s Day Gift Guide

I’m thrilled to welcome back Daniela to White Cabana today. You may remember her amazing gift guides from the holidays. She’s a very thoughtful gift giver, and we are all eager to meet her second little one this May. I’m grateful that she has taken time to share this impressive list of gift ideas for Mother’s Day with all of us. Take it away, Daniela!

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Hey Everyone, I am back with Mother’s Day gift ideas. As I anxiously await my second child arriving early May, I have definitely catered to the “new moms” you may be buying for in your life, although I have to say I think many moms would love the items on this list.

First up is this looks-like-butter romper. It’s from a Canadian company – Smash + Tess – that definitely knows what days are like with children. The variety of rompers not only exude comfort but also ease. They’re great for when you need to relax but also feel put together at home. They’re also great for when you need to run a few errands or are worried someone may come to the door after a sleepless night.

Smash + Tess’s The Sunday Romper looks like it would be the perfect every day outfit for a new mom – or any mom. It’s a Sunday Funday and what better way to celebrate than being comfortably chic? Oh… and maybe another round of mimosas. You know what they say: “a Sunday well spent brings a week of content.” Mission accomplished with this romper. In a Midnight Black rayon from bamboo and cotton blend, this romper needs no zipper, no buttons…it’s that fabulous! It’s spacious, stylish, and fits in all the right places. Looking for a new staple item? Look no further.

The Sunday Romper, $119 CAD, Smash + Tess

As you may recall from my holiday gift guides, I am definitely a coffee lover. I also find that I need the right mug each morning to go with my “mood”. Here are a few mugs that I’d definitely love to add to my collection.

Super Mom mug, $21.99 CAD, Amazon

#MomLife mug, $12 CAD, Chapters Indigo

 

On a note about beauty, I recently discovered Maison Apothecare, and I’m hooked! This is a Canadian company with both online ordering options as well as stores in Toronto, Niagara, Guelph, and Oakville. The company has skin care lines and cleaning lines all made from 100% pure plant derived extracts. As a mom, I think it’s important to really take care of yourself, and these products really are about taking care! They’re void of harsh chemical components, and they are sure to compliment the mom in your life’s beauty regimen or lack there of (moms don’t always have time). Here are some of my picks from their lines for the special mom in your life.

Facial Charcoal Brush, $15 CAD, Maison Apothecare

Facial Gift Set, $140 CAD, Maison Apothecare

Lavender & Sea Salt Soap, $8 CAD, Maison Apothecare

Exfoliating Soap Bag, $5 CAD, Maison Apothecare

 

 

Now onto the luxury gift in my shopping guide! When a mom finally gets to put her head down after a long day, what better way then to sink into the most luxurious comfortable sheets? That is where Soma Organic Mattresses comes in. Their full collection of St. Geneve bedding is lovely. For this post, I am featuring my wish list sheets – the Nico Organic Cotton sheet set. I have never felt anything like them and definitely know they would be an incredible investment (or gift) to a better luxurious night’s sleep! If you are in the Toronto area, the sales team at Soma is well-versed on everything “bedding,” and their service is top notch.

St. Geneve Nico Organic Sheet Set, $302 CAD, Soma

Finally, for the mom on the go with toddlers or school age children, this bag not only keeps mom fashionable but is also great to keep mom’s hands free while on the go this spring and summer. I wouldn’t suggest this for a diaper bag, but it is a great bag to carry everything you need for a day out with children while ensuring your comfort, too.

Rebecca Minkoff backpack, $276.50 CAD, Saks Fifth Avenue

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Yes. As predicted, Daniela spoiled us with a wonderful selection of gifts. I have had my eye on St. Geneve linens for quite some time! They are indeed luxurious! Thanks, Daniela!

Marketplace: BLANCO Canada

I’m pretty excited about what’s developing in my laundry/bathroom combo room. It took a few weeks to get going, but things are moving along now. One of the brands that I am working with on this project is BLANCO.

Not only are BLANCO’s products very much to my liking design-wise, but I love the history of this company. It has been family-owned since 1925, and its products are known for their German engineering and high quality. The BLANCO Canada products are manufactured in Canada, which definitely pleases me.

The team at BLANCO set me up with a white-white-white sink and faucet combination that are going to be put to work in my new space.

BLANCO Liven Silgranit

The Liven sink is made from BLANCO’s well-known Silgranit material, which is extremely durable material that comes in seven colours. It can be undermount of overmount. I have a white one (naturally), but the Cinder and Metallic Gray also caught my attention. Since I’ve had a normal (small) vanity sink in this space for the last five years, I’m very eager to have a large workhorse moving forward.

As for the faucet? My plumber will be installing BLANCO’s Urbena faucet. It is so sleek and clean – just what a white laundry room needs!

BLANCO Urbena faucet

While there’s a good chance that you like the Liven and Urbena as much as I do, you may be curious about other items in the BLANCO collection. Not to worry – everything else is lovely, too.

 BLANCO Quatrus apron-front sink

BLANCO Profina sink

BLANCO Panera faucet

BLANCO Solenta faucet

Thanks to BLANCO Canada for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. Photos via BLANCO.

The Friday Five: Learn, Donate, Love

February was a wild month on my end. There were very happy days, of course, but there were also really sad days, too. Every week seemed to bring difficult news of one sort or another. Illness. Job stress. Relationship challenges. I hope March brings joy to my loved ones. I hope happiness finds its way into your homes, too, if you’ve been experiencing some trying times.

So, today, I’m taking a break from talking about renos and fashion and furniture to raise  awareness about some important causes.

Mental Illness

A friend’s brother passed away last week due to mental illness. It’s devastating and awful. He was much too young. To donate or learn more about this disease, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Prostate Cancer

Some people say that prostate cancer is a “normal” or “good” kind of cancer. How is cancer normal? How can it be good? To donate or learn more, visit Prostate Cancer Canada and the Movember Foundation.

Breast Cancer

My friend Lisa wrote a personal essay about how cancer changes the conversations you have with your partner. It was recently published in the Globe and Mail. There are several organizations you can donate to to improve awareness and research for breast cancer. I usually learn more or donate to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Metastatic Breast Cancer Fund, or The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Ronald McDonald House

I heard of the much too early birth of twins of friends of a friend. I also learned of how the Ronald McDonald House Charities is supporting this family who needs to be close to their babies while they’re in intensive care.

Diabetes

Did you know that 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes? And about 50% of people with diabetes may experience kidney damage. To donate or learn more, visit Diabetes Canada or The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Travel: Grey County, Ontario – Day 3

As you already know, last month, I collaborated with Grey County Tourism. I spent three days exploring the region and trying all sorts of fun activities. On Day 1, I explored waterfalls, ate a delicious dinner at the Flying Chestnut Kitchen, and fell asleep by the fire at the Pretty River Valley Country Inn. On Day 2, I met reindeer and horses, went on a little hike in the snow, ate at Justin’s Oven in the town of Kimberley, did some outdoor activities at Blue Mountain, and ended the evening with a visit to Scandinave Spa and a peaceful sleep at the Westin Trillum House Blue Mountains.

Today, I’m sharing a recap of my third and final day in Grey County.

Day 3

I was up bright and early on Day 3 as I was due to visit Georgian Hills Vineyards to take part in grape picking. I grabbed a latte at the hotel and set off before 9am. I spent about 3 hours with a team of volunteers picking grapes off the vine for the winery. It was a lot of fun, and I didn’t even feel cold. I shared the full experience in this post.

I then drove about 10 minutes to the village of Thornbury. I was surprised to see a row of shops and restaurants when I turned onto Bruce Street. It is quite quaint and colourful. As per usual, however, I did find plenty of white goodness (beyond the snow!).

Adorn II shop in Thornbury, Ontario

For lunch, I stopped into The Cheese Gallery. I met two friendly women here who filled me in on the store’s offerings, the region’s news, and Thornbury’s artistic vibe. The Cheese Gallery’s specialty – as you may have guessed – is cheese. The shop is a great place to pick up your favourite – and new-to-you – cheeses. The Cheese Gallery also offers a beautiful selection of kitchen accessories, food products, and pottery. 

I enjoyed a delicious blue cheese grilled sandwich. The Cheese Gallery staff will make a grilled cheese sandwich with the cheese of your choosing and serve it with a side of chips and cucumbers. Yum!

Considering my sweet tooth, there was no way I was going to pass up on a treat for dessert. I opted a blueberry crumble tart, and it did not disappoint. And, yes, I did enjoy the little gold teaspoon, too. Don’t you just love the sweet little details?

Before leaving The Cheese Gallery, I tasted two elixirs, and since I seem to be on a real big turmeric kick at the moment, I purchased a jar of Moonshine Mama’s winter warrior elixir. I like to think it helped me stay healthy during the week that I drank it daily. 

After lunch, I traveled to nearby Clarksburg (about a 5 minute drive from Thornbury) to meet with Carol Hahn, the potter behind Hillstreet Productions. At Carol’s studio, I had so much fun making pottery. I have made pottery before (love it, love it!), so I was eager to get my hands dirty. At Carol’s studio, I had fun making a few bowls and a set of mugs. We rolled out the clay using her heavy-duty flattening machine (it’s much more efficient than a rolling pin!), and then I used bowls and trays as the forms to shape my creations.

I snooped around the studio to find textures to add to my pieces, too. While the clay looks grey/brown in these photos, it is porcelain, so it will dry on the white side, and Carol will be taking care of glazing everything in white. I haven’t yet received my pieces, but I’ll share them with you when they do arrive.

I think these curvy edges give my bowl a playful character. The curves are a nice contrast to the grid of the pattern I imprinted onto the clay.

The bumpy roller created the sweetest dents on my mugs. I think Carol couldn’t believe my excitement over them! But, come on, polka dots are fun!

Working with Carol Hahn was the last bit of fun I had in Grey County. From her studio, I drove back to Waterloo on the country roads – with one quick stop at Eckhardt’s Shell & Variety in Durham, Ontario for a butter tart order! (Yes, it does seem random, but I assure you that the butter tarts were very delicious and worth the stop!)

All photos by Jordana.
Thanks to Grey County and Amanda P. for sponsoring my trip. All opinions are my own.

Travel: Grey County, Ontario – Day 2

As you may recall, last month, I had the opportunity to explore Grey County (see what I did on day 1). Day 1 ended at the Pretty River Valley Country Inn. And here’s where I’d like to continue to share my travel story with you.

My loft at the Pretty River Valley Country Inn was spacious and comfortable. I fell asleep listening to the crackling fire. When I woke up, the first thing that came to my mind was the incredibly deep sleep that I had just had. I could not believe it. Interestingly, during breakfast at the inn, I met a couple who said the exact same thing! We agreed that our deep sleeps were due to a combination of a very comfortable Tempurpedic mattress, the warmth of the fire, and the fresh country air.

Breakfast was served in the main house at the Inn, and everything was freshly made. I ate by the fireplace, naturally.

After breakfast, I took a little tour of the property and surrounding trails. The day was bright, and I loved who I met along my little stroll in the snow…reindeer and Icelandic horses! I had never seen reindeer in person. Have you? What an awesome treat! All the animals at the Pretty River Valley Country Inn are absolutely beautiful.

the reindeer at Pretty River Valley Country Inn

the horses at the Pretty River Valley Country Inn

After my trail walk and visits with all the animals, I loaded up my car and took a short drove to the sweet village of Kimberley. Here, met up with Amanda from Grey County Tourism for lunch at Justin’s Oven. This restaurant is full of charm! The wood decor reminded me of a Swiss chalet or in a Cabane à Sucre. The restaurant is open only a few days a week: Thursday pub night, Friday pizza, Saturday dining, and Sunday brunch. My breakfast crêpe was tasty and service was friendly. I would easily make a return trip for Friday pizza! And I can imagine how fun it would be it in the summer with the windows open!

at Justin’s Oven

Right next door to Justin’s Oven is the Kimberley General Store. Every nook of this store exudes charm. The products are carefully curated – many of them local, too! It’s a great spot for little gifts, chocolate, and fresh bread, too! I picked up some garlic (grown right on the property).

goodies at the Kimberley General Store

It was wonderful to chat with Stacey – owner of the Kimberley General Store – and the other staff. Everyone was friendly and proud of all that the area has to offer its residents and visitors.

From Kimberley, I took a quick drive to Blue Mountain for a few outdoor activities. I hadn’t been to Blue Mountain for decades! I’m not a skier, but I was up for trying other activities at the resort. The newest attraction is the mountain top skating trail. I had brought my skates to give this a try, but the weather affected the ice conditions, so the trail was closed during my visit. Instead, I braved the Ridge Runner – a 1km-long mountain coaster. Honestly, I was scared. I had control of the little cart, and I was safely buckled in, but I was still scared. All the kids around me though – not so much! Ha ha!

the Ridge Runner at Blue Mountain

I also walked over to the other side of the resort to do the Hike n’ Tube. The cheers and screams from people tubing down the hill were hilarious! After the Ridge Runner, though, I found the hike n’ tube so calm! I don’t think I uttered even one little scream as I slid down the hill in my donut tube! It was fun though. I probably would do both activities again.

After a couple of hours outside in the winter weather, I was ready to check-in to my hotel. On this second night in Grey County, I checked into the Westin Trillium House Blue Mountain. The hotel was so busy, but check-in was smooth. This hotel has all the amenities that anyone could want. I was booked into a great suite – a one bedroom plus den with a living room, kitchenette, large bathroom, and a balcony. Oh – and a fireplace, too. My room overlooked the village and icy pond (check out this day/night comparison). I took the opportunity to spread out all of my stuff and to dry all of my outdoor winter clothing.

I stopped in at Oliver & Bonacini – on the first floor of the Westin – for a quick dinner before I headed over to the Scandinave Spa.

I was curious about the Scandinave Spa in the winter. I have been several times before in warmer weather (see this post and this post), but outdoor baths in the winter? How was this going to turn out? Well, let me tell you. Although the baths routine is hot-cold-rest, there was no way that I was brave enough to plunge into anything cold in freezing cold winter weather. The warm baths, on the other hand, were absolutely enjoyable! I was so relaxed! And after a day of outdoor activity, being in the baths was perfection! And I wasn’t cold at all!

And this brings me to the end of my second day in Grey County. Can you tell that I really enjoyed myself? I definitely did!

All photos by Jordana.
Thanks to Grey County and Amanda P. for sponsoring my trip. All opinions are my own.

Travel: Grey County, Ontario – Day 1

Our Ontario licence plates are very encouraging aren’t they? For those of you haven’t seen them, our provincial licence plate slogan is “Ontario, Yours to Discover.” And a couple of weeks ago, I did just that! I drove north to explore the region of Grey County.

If you’re like me, you may associate this region with Collingwood and the Blue Mountains, but the county has much more to offer than ski hills. Over a series of blog posts, I’ll take you on a little 3-day tour of the region. If you’re looking for something to do this winter, take note!

Day 1

On day 1, I drove about 1.5 hours from Waterloo to the town of Flesherton. Here, I stopped in at The Bicycle Café for a cappuccino and a piece of apple pie. Folks, the pie! Get the pie!

at The Bicycle Café in Flesherton, Ontario

I needed the sweet energy boost before I headed out to Hogg’s Falls. The falls are just around the corner from the main intersection in Flesherton (at Hwy 4 and East Base Line). There is plenty of parking, and while you can spend a while hiking the trails, you don’t need to go too far at all to reach the falls. Follow the sounds, and you’ll find them within minutes of parking. I wasn’t certain I’d be too keen on hiking in the snow, but it was absolutely peaceful.

the trail and Hogg’s Falls

As I’m not an avid winter outdoors-woman, I appreciated that I could hike for as little or as long as I wanted. Listening to and seeing the falls felt really quite magical, and I was so appreciative of the natural beauty that surrounded me! Ontario is yours to discover, remember?

Grey County has 9 waterfalls that you can explore, and 7 of them are accessible in the winter. I’m sure each one has something special to offer, and since they’re not too far away from one another, you can take in a lot even on a short visit to the area.

getting caught in the sunlight

As for my outfit? Along with my scarf, hats, and mitts, I wore  this hiking outfit (I didn’t even include one piece of athletic wear!), my L.L.Bean Downtek, and Sorel boots. The boots were great. I wouldn’t recommend wearing light boots as if there is a lot of snow, you’ll need footwear with traction (and warmth).

After I had my fill of outdoor time, I drove to The Flying Chestnut Kitchen for dinner. This restaurant is worth the drive, let me tell you! I walked into the restaurant just as it was opening, and the staff was conversing about Saved By The Bell. So of course I joined in.  Remember the episode when Jessi Spano took the sleeping pills? Sure do! – There’s no time, never any time! – Ha ha. Does anyone remember this episode? People who remember episodes and lines from Saved By The Bell are my kind of people. All this to say that my intro to The Flying Chestnut Kitchen was great!

Not only did I enjoy chatting with the staff, but I also feasted on a delicious dinner at a leisurely I’m-on-vacation pace. The menu changes regularly depending on the local offerings. I began my meal with an amuse bouche – a sausage roll on a layer of mustard. For the main course, I opted for the evening’s special – duck confit. The first time I had duck confit, I was a 16 year old exchange student in France. Every time I order it, I remember that time period in my life! For dessert, I was treated to a delicious mousse. The quality of everything was superb.

The Flying Chestnut Kitchen is run by Chef Shawn Adler. He opened the restaurant in the Old General Store in 2010. The restaurant is quite small, seating about 25 people, so it’s wise to make a reservation. And bring cash since it’s a cash-only restaurant!

After just about rolling out of the restaurant, I drove about 30 minutes to the Pretty River Valley Country Inn.

Side note: Dark, country roads in the winter are a touch on the scary side. I went slow and used my high-beam lights for just about the whole commute. I was extra grateful for my TomTom since with it, I knew I wasn’t going to get lost, and I could see how windy the roads were via the image on my screen. Other reasons I was a touch nervous on these roads? Well, beyond the snow, I wasn’t even sure if there would be bears and such popping out of the trees. Are there bears in Grey County? Maybe it’s best that I don’t know. If you’re not used to winter driving, I would recommend that you take it slow and drive in daylight hours as much as possible. Oh – and I should also note that the next morning, I drove the same road in the daylight, and it was absolutely smooth and easy. It wasn’t scary at all! It’s amazing what darkness can do to a gal.

Now, to the Pretty River Valley Country Inn! The young staff at the inn helped me with my luggage and checked me into a cozy loft (they call them Crofts). My 600 square foot room had a main floor with a king bed, large bathroom, foyer, and seating area. And a wood-burning fireplace. Oh, the fireplace. So so good. My room also had a second floor with a pair of twin beds.

the Ben Nevis Croft at the Pretty River Valley Country Inn

I had a lazy evening in my Croft. The inn has great options for cozy nights in – popcorn and games are at the ready! I fell asleep to the sounds of the crackling fire, feeling happy for my first day of exploring Grey County.

All photos by Jordana.
Thanks to Grey County and Amanda P. for sponsoring my trip. All opinions are my own.

Event: Interior Design Show, Toronto

If you’re in love with the world of interior design, then the Interior Design Show (IDS) is the place for you! IDS is coming to Toronto this weekend, and there is a long list of impressive speakers and exhibitors that will be in attendance.

IDS speakers include Shauna Levy (President of Canada’s Design Exchange), Brian Gluckstein (interior designer), Lynda Reeves (of House & Home magazine), Tommy Smythe (designer and tv personality), Karim Rashid (designer), and Arren Williams (creative director, designer, writer).

IDS exhibitors will include many of my favourite brands, and I’m keen on seeing what’s new and upcoming in the world of design. This will be an especially fun visit for me as I have my own renos to plan, and I’m looking for what I can include in my designs. Here are just some of the exhibitors you’ll get to meet at IDS this year.

1925 Workbench

Anony

Bettencourt Manor

Blanco

Bole Floor

Casalife

Kroft

Maison Basque

Urban Barn

If the weather cooperates, I’ll be in attendance, so stay tuned for future posts right here on White Cabana as well as on my Instagram and Twitter accounts.

If you’re interested to learn more, check out IDS. The show runs from January 18-21 at Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre.

Fashion: White Activewear

Is anyone else’s inbox flooded with news of activewear sales? I guess it’s the thing to talk about in January, so I’m jumping on that bandwagon and sharing some good-looking white activewear items (many of them are on sale, naturally).

Tops

Old Navy pullover

 GapFit hoodie

GapFit jaquard hoodie

Under Armour tank

Under Armour fleece hoodie

Bottoms

Lululemon crop pant

Lululemon shorts

Everything Else

Lole sports bra

Adidas sneakers

Saucony sneakers 

Green’s Your Colour water bottle

Gift Guide: For the Host and Hostess

I’m so grateful that Daniela has taken time out of her very busy schedule to share four amazing gift guides on White Cabana. Her earlier guides, in case you missed them, focused on babies and toddlers, tweens and teens, her and him.  In this last guide, she’s sharing more original ideas for the host. Or, as she told me, thoughtful “just because” gifts. And, yup, that’s Daniela…always thinking of others!

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Are you always stuck for what to bring to that dinner party or holiday drop-in? Or maybe you’re stuck on ideas for a small token for a teacher, coworker, or friend? This list is made up of affordable (under $30, with the exception of one!) items that cater to all types of people, but it is especially geared towards those drop-in visits and dinner parties we attend more frequently this holiday season.

Candles. Who doesn’t love a nice smelling candle? This one comes wrapped so nicely, so it’s ready for gift giving!

candle, $14 CAD (on sale), Chapters Indigo

Ornaments are great for those of us who celebrate the holidays with a tree. An ornament is a thoughtful gift your recipients will remember you by year after year. These ones are monogrammed with an initial and can be given by first or last name.

monogram ornament, $6 CAD (on sale), Chapters Indigo

The pineapple trend is still hot, and people are incorporating pineapples in home décor and accent pieces. This pineapple jar can be used for anything “dry,” or it can be left out empty. In addition to it being a trendy item, pineapples signify warmth, friendship, and hospitality. These are all the things you receive when going to visit friends and family over the holidays.

pineapple storage jar, $22.49 CAD (on sale), Well

The store Saje started off with only a few locations, but now you can find many all around. It has the best essential oils and aromatherapy items for home and body healing. No doubt this store will continue to grow and thrive as people are increasingly pursuing personal wellness. This great housewarming gift is priced just under $30.

electric ceramic diffuser, $29.95 CAD, Saje

Know anyone who loves stationery? Eighty Seventh St. is a Canadian company founded by Monica Smiley. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for great illustrations that are sure to bring a smile to your face. These items found online are sure to please the stationery-lover in your life.

notes, $12.50 CAD, Eighty Seventh St.

all occasion boxed notecards, $20 CAD, Eighty Seventh St.

greeting cards, Eighty Seventh St.

L’Occitane En Provence is sure to please anyone on your list. Below are two well-priced hostess/host gifts. I am a big fan of the hand cream and lip balm. They’re packaged beautifully in true “French” fashion.

shea butter holiday bauble, $14 CAD, L’Occitane

shea hugs and kisses, $20 CAD, L’Occitane

Who doesn’t love a magazine subscription? The gift of reading is perfect every time. Start someone’s year off right with a subscription to Style at Home, since it is priced perfectly, and it’s gift that will have your friends thinking of you each month.

Style at Home year subscription, $23.95 CAD for print, $19.95 for digital

As a true coffee lover, I can’t start my day without two cups. I have to draw attention to my favorite coffee – Dineen Coffee Company. We drive here monthly to pick up a few bags of their beans which we grind at home each morning. When I say “we,” I really mean my husband. There is really nothing like a good quality cup of coffee. If you happen to be in the Toronto area, trust me, buying someone a nice bag of Dineen’s temperance roast will not disappoint. It truly is my favorite cup of coffee.

Dineen Coffee

I know that many people won’t be able to make it down to Toronto, so on the subject of coffee, if you have a coffee lover on your host/hostess list, this coffee maker is not only one of a kind, but it makes an incredible cup of coffee. It is on the higher end of my price point for a hostess gift. However, if you know someone who really loves coffee, they will thank you each time you visit by making an exceptional tasting cup. And, cool bit of info, this Chemex coffee maker is featured in the MOMA in NYC!

Chemex coffee maker, $47.99 CAD (on sale), Well

Happy shopping!

– Daniela

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Oh my goodness, Daniela! You’ve shared another excellent gift guide today! Thank you! I hope you get spoiled this holiday season!

Gift Guide: For Her and Him

Last week, I introduced you to my cousin Daniela  and two of her holiday gift guides: babies and toddlers. and tweens and teens. She’s back this week with two more guides for us. And they’re just as good as what she brought as last week! Today, she is focused on the adults in our lives. Have a look!

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Hey everyone. I’m here with an adult gift guide, and I hope you find lots of items for your loved ones. Or, you may ask Santa for something for yourself, too! I have!

What’s great about this list is that some these items can also make great gifts for that teen/university/college student in your life as well.

Reviews on the Tre wireless ear buds by Sudio say the sound is crisp, and they last for a long time with a single charge. They’re stylish and Swedish, so I think, all-in-all, they make a great gift for the tech lover/music lover/podcast follower in your group.

Tre ear buds, $93.75 (on sale), Sudio

Next up — my favorite insulated water bottle on the market. I bought my first one over a year ago and use it daily for both hot and cold beverages. I can attest to the length of time it keeps things hot and cold. It has never let me down. The hot actually lasts longer than 8 hours, and I can keep my warm lemon water all day at my desk. The other thing I love is that, true to its advertising, once washed, it does not hold the flavor of whatever drink was in it before. I can easily put water in it the day after having used it for coffee or tea. This bottle is from Canadian company Green’s Your Colour and comes in an array of colours. What’s special right now is the limited edition white versions which make great gifts for any adult on your list.

rock steady limited edition bottle, $45, Green’s Your Colour

champagne bliss limited edition bottle, $45, Green’s Your Colour

Anyone who has lived with me before-or worked with me for that matter-may run to buy me this amazing gadget. The Tile Pro is available at Best Buy, and it’s a great gift for those of us who lose/misplace our keys every day or every hour. The free Tile Pro app will locate that item you always seem to lose by emitting a loud sound. Santa, are you listening? I need one!

Tile, $45 CAD, Best Buy

Isn’t winter all about cozy chunky sweaters? This merino wool sweater from Aritzia is not only stylish for a night out with friends but equally cozy for a night in.

merino wool sweater, $166.50 CAD (on sale), Aritzia

2017 seemed to be the year of the beard. If you have someone who is sporting this trend, this kit makes a great gift. Rumor has it that taking care of a beard is a lot of work. This all-natural Canadian-made beard kit is a perfect gift for that beard lover on your list.

The Northern Beard Company – The Revival Kit, $25.48 (on sale), Well

Journaling, becoming more mindful, and seeing andshowing gratitude in every day is proven to make us healthier not only in mind but in body, too. This is a great gift for that special someone in your life. It will help them create a daily habit of journaling and its rewards will be endless.

The Five Minute Journal, $26.95 CAD, Chapters Indigo

My last item is this trendy backpack by Matt & Nat for Indigo. Backpacks are now coming in various versions and styles. I love this one not only because it is sleek, modern, and a great size to fit all kinds of items, but it is also made from sustainable products. Both Chapters Indigo and Matt & Nat are Canadian companies which is an extra plus. Although this backpack seems to be featured for going to work or school, as a mom of a toddler, having two hands free has become quite important while also having (lots) of things accessible. I have this on my wish list, too. Hopefully Santa is reading this blog today.

Matt and Nat X Indigo backpack, $180, Chapters Indigo

Happy shopping!

– Daniela

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Jeez, Daniela, your guides are top-notch! I love all of your ideas for gifts for loved ones (and for ourselves!). Thanks for sharing your ideas with all of us today!

Gift Guide: For the Little Ones

I’m excited to welcome my cousin Daniela to the blog today. She has a 4-part gift guide series to share over the next couple of weeks, and I hope you’re eager to see what she has in store for us. Today’s gift guide is all about the babies and toddlers! Take it away, Daniela!

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Hey everyone. As an avid shopper and someone who prides herself in finding just the right item for the many children on my shopping list, I am here today sharing with White Cabana readers some of the best items in my opinion for the baby and toddlers on your list this Christmas and yes…they are white or almost all white!

A hot item given the focus we are seeing today on mindfulness, self-care and starting this at a young age is the tee pee. This awesome gift not only looks great in any room but gives the child a place to have some quiet time, read a book or just enjoy some imaginative play.

teepee, Pottery Barn Kids

Make the base of the teepee extra cozy by adding this:

rug, Ikea

This special doll is perfect for children 18 months and up. In fact, my 2 1/2 year old daughter still prefers this to all her other dolls. It is the perfect fit for small arms and mimics a real baby which is wonderful for play and imagination.

doll, Mastermind Toys

Not only made from superior organic cotton but also Canadian made, these pjs are sure to become your toddler’s favorite. Do you have a future doctor or ballerina in the family? Then surprise them with a pair of these this Christmas.

pajamas, Playjamas

pajamas, Playjamas

Want an extra special outfit for that special baby girl in your life? Let her sparkle in one of many options from Canadian company Little Lush Boutique. Although most of the store’s items cater to the little girls in your life, it carries awesome diaper/tie duos great for your next photo shoot that can be worn by both genders.

dress, Little Lush Boutique

Now for my favorite children’s Canadian clothing company. Their staples may be priced a bit higher than the norm however the wash and wear ability of this high quality clothing is far superior than many brands on the market. The organic cotton feels like butter, and you will find that whoever you buy these clothes for will want to wear them the second they are out of the wash. Again and again! Here is a selection of some of my go-to staples from Mini Mioche!

long sleeve tee, Mini Mioche

the ball tee, Mini Mioche

the biker romper, Mini Mioche

long sleeve ballet dress, Mini Mioche

Now for that extra special gift, check out this classic car:

vintage car, Indigo

Happy Shopping!

– Daniela

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Thanks, Daniela, for sharing all of these goodies with us, today! You’re definitely a thoughtful shopper and gift-giver, so we’re lucky to have your input for the little ones in our lives!

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Real Estate: White Homes For Sale

Who else goes on Realtor multiple times a week? A day? An hour? It can totally suck you in if you’re curious about real estate, right? Realtor (and the Canadian Real Estate Association) was one of the sponsors at BlogPodium, and I think the crowd laughed when we were asked the same questions prior to the Realtor-sponsored presentation! It’s hilarious. We’re either curious about our own neighbourhood, dreaming of other neighbourhoods (or cottages!), or, if you’re like me, you’re interested in the design details of the homes for sale.

I’ve been gathering images of white interior spaces from Realtor, and today seems like as good as time as any to finally hit publish on this post.

64 Hillcrest Dr., London, Ontario, $1,250,000 CAD

525 Princess Ave., London, Ontario, $1,649,900 CAD

686 Franklinway Cr. , London, Ontario, $2,995,000

6620 Concession 1, Puslinch, Ontario, $5,499,000

18A Westmount Park Rd., Toronto, Ontario, $10,018,000

361 Inglewood Dr., Toronto, Ontario, $8,380,000

16 Ashwood Cres., Toronto, Ontario, $2,548,000

4381 Lakeshore Rd., Clarington, Ontario, $2,500,000

Cool, right? I know these homes are listed in the millions, so if you come across any others below the million-dollar mark that you think are beautiful-in-white, get in touch!

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Architecture: Jean Verville

I recently came across the work of architect Jean Verville, and I was soon lost in a website of beautiful design projects. Here are some spaces that really caught my eye.

unité d’habitation Westmount Square

Fahouse 

In 2

whitepaper

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Please Vote for White Cabana!

As you may remember, this here blog has been nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award (woohoo!) in the Best Colour Inspiration Blog category. There are only a few more weeks for the Amara Interior Blog Awards voting period, and I’d be thrilled if you could take a moment to vote!

The #IBA17 awards have a lot going on! There are over 800 blogs nominated across 10 categories. Isn’t that amazing? There are so many beautiful blogs in the round-up, so I would strongly encourage you to have a browse, learn something new, and vote for some very deserving bloggers!

Thanks for your support!

Design: Caribou Cabin in My Home

A couple of weeks ago, I shared news of Canadian newcomer Caribou Cabin. This shop designs, customizes, and manufactures chalkboards, magnetic whiteboards, and pinboards. The company generously sent me a beautiful square (34″ x34″) linen pinboard – white a white frame, of course.

Soon after the order was placed, my massive shipment arrived at my doorstep. The board was wrapped carefully and arrived safely to my home in Waterloo. When I saw the grey linen for the first time, I was impressed by the quality of the item. And the grey matched my home perfectly.

I leaned it up against the wall behind a cabinet in my living room which houses my radio, record player, and typewriter. I pinned up some memorable items from my office that I knew would look pretty and would also remind me of happy celebrations.

As I took my photos, I thought that the pinboard in my living room would be the perfect spot to showcase Christmas cards. And the great thing about the pinboard is that I can move it to other areas of my home such as a hallway landing area or office. The office is certainly an obvious spot for a pinboard, but I don’t think it’s the only place for it.

Thanks to Caribou Cabin for sponsoring this post. All photos and opinions are my own.

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Marketplace: Caribou Cabin

I’m thrilled to share news of the recent launch of Caribou Cabin – a Canadian company specializing in well-designed and beautifully manufactured chalkboards, corkboards, whiteboards, and pinboards. Organization and art all in one item? Yes, please!

One of the reasons that I’m eager to write about Caribou Cabin is because I have known one of the owners – Tim – since highschool (aka – years and years) and when he emailed to let me know about his newest venture, I was happy to help spread the word.

Each board is manufactured in the company’s Toronto workshop, and great care is taken to design and manufacture high-quality products that suit individual styles and homes. Frames come in multiple finishes for every board category, but you’ll see that (as per usual) I lean toward the white, black, and grey options.

magnetic chalkboard (top: black frame, bottom: white frame)

corkboards

magnetic whiteboards

linen pinboards

Whether you’re in the market for a chalkboard, corkboard, whiteboard, or pinboard, you can browse the selection at Caribou Cabin, choose your size, select your frame, and easily place your order online. What’s not to love?

Stay tuned for another Caribou Cabin feature soon as I’d like to give you an up-close look at the linen pinboard that I have in my own home. Spoiler alert – it’s lovely!

Cars: Review of the Audi Q5

Have I caught your attention with the title? Audi. Q5. Who’s excited for a little car review? Honestly, I am most definitely thrilled to be writing this post about my recent experience with the Audi Q5 – aka #WhiteCabanaDreamCar.

I’ve been keen on the Q5 for a while now, but it hasn’t always been that way.

A long(er) while ago, you may remember that I became pretty obsessed with the Fiat 500. I loved the look of this little Italian go-getter, but eventually my want/need for this little one faded. I rented it for a weekend, and while I enjoyed driving it around Toronto, it barely fit my luggage, and it was quite a noisy highway ride.

In recent years, it was the Audi Q7 that caught my attention, and I wrote about it here. What a beautiful car. It’s sleek, stylish, and roomy. In fact, once I saw it up-close, I realized it might be a touch too roomy for my liking. With no children in tow, I don’t have a need for its third row of seats.

Enter the Q5. I kept seeing this car on the road, and I kept liking it. And liking it some more. When I drove home from Montebello, Quebec, I spotted many on the highway, and each time I saw one, I thought, “now that’s a nice looking car,” sometimes I said it to myself before I was close enough to confirm that the car I was eyeing was in fact an Audi Q5.

Given that I grew up with an Audi 5000, I have fond memories of the Audi brand. My parents bought our grey Audi 5000 at the Audi factory Ingolstadt, Germany, then shipped it over to Toronto way back in 1985! We traveled everywhere in that car as a family. When my Dad finally retired it in 2006 after 21 years and 344,996kms, it was a pretty sad day for all of us. We all knew it was at the end of its life (21 years!), but it was emotional to see it go. Is that weird? To be so emotionally attached to a car? Hope I’m not the only one!

Dad and our Audi 5000 in Ingolstadt, Germany
(my sister and I are in the backseat – camera shy, I guess)

Okay, so we weren’t too camera shy. My sister and I at a basket shop in Germany. I’m flexing my muscles by carrying the biggest basket I could find, I guess!

So this brings me to my recent, super up-close encounter with the Audi Q5. The AudiKW team generously loaned me a white Q5 for a couple of days of adventuring around the Waterloo region (see #WhiteCabanaxAudi on Instagram for a few more photos). What a treat! I was happy to explore the white, sleek AudiKW showroom while I waited for my car. While dealerships can be easily intimidating for someone like me (who knows very little about cars), I was pleasantly surprised by everyone’s welcoming attitudes. I felt comfortable.

I met with Deon and Robert who set me up with the Q5. Robert – a brand specialist – walked me through all the features of the Audi Q5 Komfort. This model is the lowest end of the Audi Q5 spectrum, so some elements I really liked, and others would come in a higher end model (like the Progressive or the Technik).

When I got in the car, the first things I noticed were the driver’s seat and the size of the front window. The driver’s seat was made for me (or so I like to think). It was comfortable from the beginning right up until I dropped off the car. The front window panel was large and free of obstructions. I know this should always be the case, but it isn’t. Sometimes the frame is too thick or the rear view mirror is bulky. I also loved that the windshield wipers tucked away beautifully – they weren’t visible when not in use. Great design detail!

I love the design of these mirrors.

I currently drive a 2004 Toyota Rav4 – which I really do love – but it doesn’t have the modern features of new cars, so it took me a little while to get used to all the tech in the Audi Q5. Okay – not that long, but you know what I mean. In the Audi Q5, I could actually plug in my phone and connect it to bluetooth. I know many new cars have this feature, but my Rav4 doesn’t, so it took a moment to get used to it. Once I did – let me tell you – I made as many hands-free phone calls as I could while I was driving! I get amused so darn easily!

I think I only managed to use about one or two of these buttons! I’m pretty tech-savvy, but not when it comes to cars!

The cargo space is decent in the Komfort (26.8 cubic feet), but I definitely noticed that it’s smaller than the space in my Rav4 (about 38 cubic feet). The seats fold down, of course, which helps for large loads, but it would be something I’d have to consider and test out before I’d purchase it as I do end up carrying large loads on random trips in and out of town. The cargo space in the Q5 is tidy with a hidden spare tire and a privacy cover, too.

 

Great design – everything has its place!

Because I live in Uptown Waterloo and normally walk or bike to the places I need to go, I forced myself to venture out a bit for a longer drive to get the full experience of this car. I took the highway-route to Cambridge so I could go fast! FUN! The pick-up in the Q5 was amazing, and my comfort level remained high! The car drove smoothly and quietly, and I definitely liked driving fast (within speed limits, of course)!

When I was going over the features with Robert at the dealership, he told me that the car can adjust to various driving modes – dynamic, comfort, auto, etc. I opted for dynamic for the majority of the time because the ride felt fast and smooth. Dynamic mode has tight steering and more aggressive gear shifting. Comfort, on the other hand, has softer, easier steering and less aggressive gear shifting.

Look at the little lights underneath the handles – love them!

Having the Audi Q5 in my possession made my birthday celebrations extra fun! In fact, since my parents came for a visit, they, too, experienced the luxurious drive! This was especially fun for my dad who recreated his Audi pose from 1985. 

Notice my approach to parking? The farther and emptier, the better!

Over the course of my Audi Q5 ownership, I drove as much as I possibly could. In addition to driving to and around Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, and St. Jacobs, I drove over to the sweet town of Elora for a birthday dinner celebration. On the way, I stopped by the Montrose kissing bridge – the last covered bridge in Ontario, and the oldest of its kind in Canada.

And I also stopped by the castle-house on Middlebrook Road (between Montrose and Elora).  While in Elora, I checked out the progress of the Elora Mill. Construction is well underway, and I’m very much looking forward to a return trip here to eat, stay, and relax! It’s going to add so much more prettiness to the already-pretty town of Elora. As you can see in these photos, parking the Q5 was a breeze. Backing into grassy areas and stone-covered roads was a-okay!

For an SUV, the Audi Q5 is extremely fuel efficient. I love this aspect of the car! Apparently, it’s good to go 1000km on a tank of gas. Isn’t that amazing for an SUV?

I took on several passengers over the course of my mini-ownership. Every passenger loved the experience. All agreed that the car was definitely sleek and luxurious and beautifully designed. Back-seat passengers felt that the ride was spacious and comfortable and enjoyed the adjustable back seats as well as the back-seat air conditioning controls.

As a driver, I got easily used to having the control buttons at my fingertips on the console. While some passengers assumed that the navigation screen was touch-screen, it wasn’t. This didn’t bother me at all. I really liked having the circle button on the console to control music, phone calls, settings, etc. It was very easy to operate and comfortable because I didn’t need to extend my arm for touch screen.

While I did absolutely enjoy the Audi Q5 Komfort, and my interest in purchasing one has been confirmed because of this recent driving experience, there are some features that did not come with this model that I would want. My top priority would be a sunroof. I love having a sunroof in my Rav4, and I would definitely want a Q5 that had one. The model that I drove didn’t have all the snazzy sensors and cameras that I would want in a new car. I’d definitely upgrade to include these as I think they’re especially handy for parking and highway driving.

If you can’t already tell, overall, I have become more attached to the Audi Q5 after this driving experience. It’s a beautiful vehicle from every angle, and it made me feel safe, happy, and secure. I also loved walking up to it knowing that I got to get in the driver’s seat. This car definitely suits my style and personality!

Do I still think that this is the car for me? You bet!

Unless, maybe, I should try out the Audi TT first? 🙂

Many thanks to MC and the AudiKW team for sponsoring this post. All opinions and photos are my own.

p.s. Outfit details: jeans – Joe Fresh (last year), top – Kate Spade, eyeglasses – Polette, sunglasses – Rayban, purse – Longchamp.

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Travel: Terre Bleu, Milton, Ontario

If you’ve ever driven from Waterloo to Toronto – and if you’re anything like me – then you’ve probably uttered a few some many curse words as you’ve driven through Milton on the 401. Let me correct myself – as you’ve been stopped in traffic on the 401 in Milton. Ugh. Milton. Up until a few weeks ago, all I had really known about Milton was the traffic I experienced on the 401.

But, I’m happy to share that I’ve found something glorious about Milton (and Halton Region) – the Terre Bleu lavender farm. Hooray! It’s absolutely lovely, and I encourage you to visit! Get off that darn highway and enjoy the serene beauty of the lavender farm! (Warning – this post is infused with hints of purple and yellow.)

Tim and I drove out to Terre Bleu on the Canada Day long weekend for a tour with Terre Bleu’s owner, Ian Baird. Our tour was fun, educational, and full of beauty.

Terre Bleu’s fields grow several varieties of both English and French lavender. English lavender, in brief, is excellent for its scent, while the French lavender is used in culinary endeavors. The English lavender was just coming out when we visited the farm, and the French hadn’t yet shown its colours.

Some people like white…and others like purple. Ian and I bonded over our passion for (a single) colour.

Much of the property is – of course – filled with rows upon rows of beautiful lavender. But Ian has also done an impressive job of embracing, promoting, and fostering art on the farm. The yellow door (that you may have seen floating around social media) provides the perfect photo op, but it is even more cool in person. A random door in the middle of lavender rows. Loved it!

Inspired by the quote (written by Ian’s then-10-year-old daughter) noted above the door, Tim and I left our worries behind us as we walked through the yellow door. We found joy on the other side!

In addition to the lavender fields, Terre Bleu raises honeybees, has an herb garden (which transforms into a great spot for lavender-infused cocktails), and has a beautiful forest and trail. In the forest, along the “Yellow Bench Trail,” you’ll find a wood installation perfect for a conversation circle and – as the name suggests – a yellow bench. But, of course!

Terre Bleu’s honeybees are hard at work! In the photo below, Ian is showing us the old bee keeping house in the distillery – the room where they turn lavender into oils. Those copper vessels, which are used in the essential oil-making process, were brought in from Portugal because of their high quality and production capability.

Before you think that Terre Bleu is all-purple-all-the-time, check this out:

Great, right? This massive, white bench overlooks the equestrian area of the farm, and its design mimics that of the main store/barn structure. No detail was left to chance on this farm! Each design choice was made with much consideration.

And more white came through in the “white” Melissa lavender. In fact, although it looks white here, its true colour will be pink once it’s fully in bloom. (But let’s just pretend it’s white, okay?)

The Terre Bleu team harvests the lavender during the year and transforms it into all sorts of beautiful products – sachets, dried lavender, lavender salt, lavender essential oils, soaps, and more. The white-washed shop is definitely worth a visit. Pick up a treat before you leave, including, perhaps, a scoop of lavender ice cream! I picked up a jar of honey – it’s made with the farm’s lavender and hard-working honeybees! I couldn’t resist!

So, next time you give Milton a passing glance, I encourage you to stop and find your way to Terre Bleu for some inspiration!

See more snapshots of our day at Terre Bleu over on Tim’s blog, Design Maze.

Thanks again, Ian, for the super tour! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the development of your lovely lavender farm! Milton is lucky to have you!
Photos by Tim and me.

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The Friday Five: The Maple Leaf

Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday tomorrow, and cities, towns, villages, and hamlets are all preparing to celebrate with food and fireworks. Red and white is dominating stores, squares, and supermarkets, and Canadians are eager to celebrate!

Since the maple leaf is one of Canada’s most prominent symbols, I’m sharing five versions of it from five Canadian companies.

diamond maple leaf brooch, Birks

maple leaf bookends, Chapters Indigo

Canada – True North art print, Penny Paper Co.

Canada bucket and shovel, Canadian Tire

pure silver coin, Canada Post

I hope all my Canadian readers enjoy a wonderful long weekend! Happy #Canada150!

Design: McKinley Burkart Architecture

I don’t know how Instagram algorithms work, but sometimes the fancy behind-the-scenes technology really works in my favour. Recently, Instagram introduced me to the work of McKinley Burkart. This architecture and interior design firm, which has studios in Calgary and Vancouver, has an extensive portfolio of beautiful restaurants, retail, residential, and work spaces.

Bruce Lifestyle Store

M-Tech

Market

Village Ice Cream

Earls Westhills

Elbow Park House

The Shore

IHS

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Garden: Let’s Get Growing

I don’t have a lot of garden space to work with – or time to tend to it, for that matter – but I do enjoy a bit of gardening, and in usual-Jordana-style, I like to keep things simple. In my back garden, I have a ton of hostas. They’re incredibly easy, they grow like champs, and they’re pretty. I also have herbs in planters, and this year, I’m trying out spinach, too.

In the front, I get a ton of sun, so I plant my tomatoes there, and they produce like crazy! I plant red geraniums in my planters because they flourish in the sunshine. Geraniums always remind me of my time in Switzerland, so I’m happy to have them outside my home.  I was considering white begonias this year because they looked so pretty at the market, but I’m sure the sun would have burned them, since they prefer shade.

And the new addition to my garden are a few peony plants that I split and transplanted from my parents’ garden last year. The buds are still quite little, so I’m not certain they’ll be fruitful this year, but I’m hopeful they’ll produce beautiful blooms for years to come.

I just love that the garden can produce so much goodness. After trudging through such a long winter, I love seeing spring surrounding my home.

And speaking of beautiful homes in spring, here are a few that have caught my eye.

the gorgeous home of Canadian blogger Monika Hibbs

Giannetti Home – Atherton

Claus Dalby

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Press: My Home in Style at Home Magazine

By now you may know that my home was featured in the June issue of Style at Home magazine. I’m so so so proud of this achievement, and it is truly an incredible honor to be in the presence of such amazing Canadian designers, stylists, and bloggers in this issue. I love this Canadian publication because it features designs that readers can recreate. On top of all of this, I always learn something new.

It was a pleasure to work with photographer Donna Griffith; stylists Morgan Lindsay and Stacy Begg; and author Bethany Little. As the article was being prepared, I also connected with a couple of additional fact-checkers on the Style at Home team, and our interactions always made me smile. One conversation included repetitions of the question “And it’s white?” The fact-checker asked this question because she hadn’t yet seen photos of my home, but was asking me questions about the items and designs. I couldn’t stop laughing. “Yes, yes, everything is white,” I told her.

I hope you’ve been able to pick up a copy of this very special issue. Here’s a peek into the feature, and you can read it in full online at Style at Home.

 

    

And a few truths…if you’re curious:

  • I do walk briskly to and from work…with a backpack.
  • I definitely do call my bed “my princess bed.”
  • I absolutely adore my couch, and I would buy it again in an instant.
  • The trio of white artwork in the living room was made my my three nephews as a house-warming present.
  • The Style at Home team didn’t actually rearrange too many things. Except for a few items (e.g., flowers, silver platter on coffee table, marble tray with lemons, lettuce in the sink, tea towel), everything is mine. I loved that they worked with my own items. It wasn’t what I was expecting to happen on photoshoot day.
  • I had so much fun when the crew came for the photoshoot.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I’m taking tomorrow off from the blog, so I’ll leave you this whole weekend to read the feature!

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Event: Terroir Symposium, Toronto

Food makes any event pretty darn great, doesn’t it? Well, what about an event that showcases the best-of-the-best in culinary gems? Count me in! Today, I’m sharing news from the Terroir Symposium. Founded by Arlene Stein, the symposium brings together chefs, pastry chefs, food enthusiasts, publishers, bloggers, and more to showcase and share the achievements of Canada’s culinary industry. This year, Terroir was held at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). In short – the event was memorable!

I arrived around lunch, and easily made my way around the food booths. Lunch was presented by Ocean Wise, and each chef prepared a dish to highlight Canada’s sustainable seafood offerings. I was in fish food heaven!

Hor mok, steamed white fish from Georgian Bay, and rice in a banana leaf, from Chef Noureen Feerasta of Rickshaw Bar

crispy fried pickerel wings and cheeks with thai larb, from Chef Kristin Donovan of Hooked   

Acadian Shortnose Sturgeon Toasts, from Chef Katie Venables Lloyd of lbs

albacore tuna donburi, from Chef Michael Hunter of Antler

Water and wine flowed.

S. Pellegrino – an event sponsor (and one of my faves!)

I met up with my friends from Langdon Hall for some bonding over food.

me, Anna, Chef Jason Bangerter, and Franco Stalteri (of Charlies Burgers)

Mingling and desserts pair very nicely together, so that’s where we headed post-fish! The desserts were so beautifully presented in the centre court of the AGO. Were they delicious? Of course they were! I had multiples just to be sure! (I had to do the research to report back to you, right?) The flavours were rich, and everything was of the highest quality. The pastry chefs and their teams sure did spoil all the attendees!

eclairs from Atul Palghadmal of Nugateau 

white perfection (white chocolate, vanilla cream, maple mousse, biscuit) from Lior Aronovich of Amadeus Patisserie

from Chris Kwok of Cluny Bistro

With a full belly, we happily attended sessions to learn about Canada’s culinary industry from the experts. We started with a session on cookbook publishing. It seemed right up my alley considering my background in writing. The panel consisted of Michelle Meade (senior editor, Figure 1 Publishing), Lisa Jager (art director, Penguin Random House), and Trish Bunnett (publicity manager, Penguin Random House). It was moderated by Alison Maclean. These four women spoke about the cookbook publishing industry for chefs, bloggers, and enthusiasts. I was pleased that bloggers were included in several presentations throughout the day. The women spoke of the publishing process – for pitch to proposal to editors meetings to writing to food styling – there are so many parts that go into book making, and I soaked it all up!

We then turned from cookbook publishing to Quebec’s culinary traditions in a session titled “French Flavour.” Since my trip to Montebello, Quebec has been on my mind quite a bit, so when I saw this session in the program, I was curious. We heard from Alex Cruz and Cyril Gonzales (co-owners: Société-Original and L’École Buissonnière), Anne Desjardins, Geneviève Vézina-Montplaisir (Caribou magazine), and Simon Thibault.

The third session we went to before the break was titled “The Science of Flavour.” In this session, moderated by Brian Gilvesy (YU Ranch), Joshua Evans (PhD student), Mark Schatzker (author and hst on Flavour TV), and John Szabo (master sommelier) addressed questions and concerns about flavour. Why do people taste things differently, what are we doing when we grow our food to enhance or change flavour, etc. “Tomatoes” was a hot topic…flavourful or flavourless? It depends on the time of year and where they’re grown, of course!

At this point in the day, attendees were invited to a reception. While I could not eat more caviar (I know, I know, but I couldn’t!), I did manage to sip on a delicious bourbon cocktail! And just like the food and desserts that were served earlier in the day, the cocktails were made with much attention to detail. Loved it!

The late-afternoon sessions first consisted of a panel moderated by Matty Matheson, Viceland TV host and chef, Parts & Labour. We saw clips from Kevin Kossowan’s dramatic film about food and agriculture, learned about pulses (which are dried goods like chickpeas and lentils) from Courtney Hirota from Pulse Canada, and Michael Ableman, author and organic farmer. It was a session that urged us to think about where our food is grown, where we buy it, and how we can maximize our local efforts.

Following this, we heard about the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition. Jacob Richeler of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants moderated the session with Alison Ramage (Design to Dine) and Normand LaPrise (Toqué). Could you imagine judging a food competition? That would be amazing! They should get the public (aka people like me) right on in there alongside the top chefs! Right?

To end Terroir Symposium, we attended an “Iconically Canadian” panel with Lynn Crawford, Dufflet Rosenberg, Susur Lee, and Matty Matheson. The four chefs have different personalities and culinary backgrounds, so it was interesting to hear about their perspectives on the Canadian culinary industry. While the session focused on Toronto, I know that there are many gems across Canada that add to our culinary excellence!

So would I attend the Terroir Symposium again? You bet I would! Food, mingling, art, and learning…these are some of my favourite things, and Terroir served them all!

All photos by Jordana.

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Two for Tuesday: Style at Home – June Issue

Today’s two-of-a-kind feature is extremely special because it features two of my most favourite things: the June issue of Style at Home magazine (check out pages 44+ for my home tour) and Nutella (yum!).

#WhiteCabanaxStyleatHome

via White Cabana – Instagram

I love seeing my name in print – academic journals, magazine articles, or Nutella jars – it all makes me happy!

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Event: Relais & Chateaux Congress at Langdon Hall

Please tell me you’re still enjoying all of my #WhiteCabanaGoestoLangdonHall news. I thoroughly enjoy my visits there. It’s a unique gem, and I’m happy to share stories about my experiences. The staff is so kind and welcoming, and I’m thrilled that I get to keep visiting. Some friends have asked me about my recent dinner there, so I thought I’d write a little something about it in case others were interested in learning, too.

Last week, Langdon Hall hosted the Congress of the North American Relais & Chateaux partners. Owners, general managers, and others from Relais & Chateaux properties came to Langdon Hall for a few days of learning and mingling. On the Sunday before the learning began, Langdon Hall hosted a reception for its guests – congress attendees and a few other friends, too. I was thrilled to have been invited to join in on the fun.

I arrived at Langdon Hall on a rainy evening, but the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s mood. As soon as I stepped inside the main house, I was handed a glass of champagne (rain? what rain?). While sipping on the bubbly, I chatted with a few of the guests. Everyone was in a happy mood, and everyone seemed to be amazed by the beauty of Langdon Hall. I know! I get it!

Wine tasting was happening in several of the rooms, and in addition to the Bergström and the Guado al Tasso wines, I was fascinated by the Coravin wine opener. A needle punctures through the cork, and the wine is poured. Through the power of magic (and engineering), after you take the opener off the bottle, the cork remains in place. The wine is protected, and it won’t spoil, since the cork remains as the seal.

While we were sipping on champagne and wine, plenty of hors d’oeuvres were passed around. Presentation was beautiful and we were treated with plenty of delicious treats!

A little while later, all guests were invited to make their way to the Firshade Room which is Langdon Hall’s newest event space (I wrote about it when it was set up for a wedding open house.). Here, Langdon Hall’s owner, Mr. Bill Bennett, welcomed all of his guests and introduced three performers from the Stratford Festival – Sean Arbuckle, Blyth Wilson, and Laura Burton on piano. They performed a few songs, and the songs from Guys and Dolls were especially entertaining. It seems like it’s a really fun show!

costumes from A Little Night Music

And then…we feasted.

Chef Jason Bangerter and his team worked wonders once again. Charcuterie, truffle risotto, beef and pork with turnip purée, oysters, and apple slices topped with cheese and marcona almonds? Oh, jeez, I was in food heaven! The meal was served buffet-style, and everything was plated in style. As is the Langdon Hall way!

And to end our meal? Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson and her team created so many artistic treats. There was something for everyone. I opted for a creme brulée and a peanut butter and strawberry mousse. It was hard to resist at just two – let me tell you!

The evening was memorable, fun, interesting, and delicious. I had great conversations throughout the evening, and I learned more about several Relais & Chateaux properties.

Thanks again, Langdon Hall, for welcoming me in so warmly!

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Travel: Things to Do in Collingwood, Ontario

As I mentioned on Monday, I recently enjoyed a relaxing time at the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains in Collingwood, Ontario. The day was a full one, and I’d like to fill you in on a few other things I experienced during this mini-vacation.

As I mentioned, the drive from Waterloo to the Collingwood area is very easy and enjoyable. Driving the country roads is relaxing and beautiful. The route took us through the charming town of Erin, Ontario, and just as we entered the main part of town, we spotted a house painted black with café on the sign – the Tin Roof Café. We grabbed homemade cookies and coffee (healthy way to start a spa day, right?) for our journey. I appreciated the design, and the coffee was well-made, too. I recommend it.

As we made it to Collingwood, we stopped to walk the main street. When we spotted a white bike in a shop window, I knew I had to explore. Turns out that the store – Leuk – was made for people like me. White, white, and more white! In fact, Leuk has three stores – a flower store, a café and clothing store, and a furniture store – all on the main street (Hurontario St.) in Collingwood. I wanted to buy everything.

photo via Leuk

On the recommendation of a Leuk saleswoman, we stopped in at The Tremont for a delicious lunch in a design-y, French atmosphere. Marble tables get me. Every. Single. Time. I had a freshly made quiche and side salad, which I thought was an improvement from my morning cookie. The closer you get to a spa, the healthier you get? 🙂 I would definitely go back to The Tremont on a future visit.

photo via The Tremont Cafe

Not wanting to return home after five hours at the spa, we took the quick drive over to the Blue Mountain Village. This is the ski zone. There are shops, restaurants, and accommodations for all those people who love to ski. In the spring, though, the Village is a great place for a little walk. We were also hungry for dinner at this point in the day (worked up an appetite after all that relaxing!), and we walked around the sweet boardwalk to the Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill restaurant at the Westin Trillium House hotel. I had already known that the Westin was in the Village, but I didn’t know that Oliver & Bonacini was the in-hotel restaurant. The restaurant has a beautiful, modern, and welcoming interior, and the sun was shining brightly in the restaurant even though it must have been close to 7pm at this point in the day. Such a wonderful atmosphere! Here, I opted for a classic pizza margherita. Yum. I’d order it again. And one of these days, I’m going to stay at the Westin because it looks like my kind of place – regardless of season!

photo via Oliver & Bonacini

So, not only did I have an amazing time at the Scandinave Spa, but I also really enjoyed exploring a bit of Collingwood. I know the area has so much to offer, and while we generally hear about the winter activity options, I think now is also an ideal time to take explore the area.

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Travel: Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains, Ontario

This year is all about #Canada150. Our country’s notable birthday is encouraging me to explore what lives outside of my neighbourhood. I’m a traveler as you may have noticed, but traveling for extended periods of time is challenging given my schedule. That’s why I’m trying to travel closer to home for shorter periods of time.

I recently took a day trip to the Collingwood area of Ontario. The region is about a 2-hour drive from Waterloo, which makes it a great day trip destination. The main purpose of my trip was to relax at the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain.

don’t be fooled – this is just a photo backdrop since cameras are not allowed in the baths area

the trees are absolutely beautiful – even if they don’t yet have their leaves

I brought along my Sea Bags tote, and it was perfect!

walk down memory lane – here I am two years ago in the same location

It has been a few years since I first went to Scandinave, so my trip was long overdue. Since my last trip, Scandinave has added an infrared sauna, relaxation solaria, and multiple indoor and outdoor loungers.

one of the best parts of Scandinave – the quiet

The idea at Scandinave is to alternate between hot, cold, and rest periods in a calm, quiet environment. We started with the infrared sauna since it was new, and we wanted to try it out. Thumbs up! We moved to a warm bath, then plunged into one of the cold baths (I could only go up to my thighs!). A rest outside turned into a short snooze, then the routine continued. And continued some more. For four more hours. Heavenly! Magical! Perfection!

Scandinave Blue has an infrared sauna, a traditional sauna, a eucalyptus steam room, three warm(er)(est) bath pools, and three cold(er)(est) bath pools. In addition to these, there are multiple indoor solaria with loungers and magazines for rest periods as well as plenty of outdoor spaces with Adirondack chairs, fire pits, moon loungers, and hammocks. The views in every direction are beautiful – even when there are no leaves on the trees. You can imagine the views as Scandinave is surrounded by 25 acres of forested land!

In between this challenging routine of hot-cold-rest, I had to have a massage. Ha! Right? Tough life! (Have I mentioned how grateful I am!?) I booked myself in for a massage because (a) I seem to be on in a self-care phase at the moment and (b) I’ve never had a massage.

I met with Cathy, a Registered Massage Therapist, who explained her approach and told me to relax. Done. I was already in full-relaxation mode because of the baths, but I relaxed to the extreme with the massage! Cathy was great and definitely made my first massage experience a positive one. I thought she was going to massage me karate-chop-style, but she didn’t. Apparently, I believe things I see in movies? Anyway, the massage was definitely a worthwhile experience, and you can be sure I’ll be having another one at some point in my life! If you book a massage, access to the baths is included. It’s best to book your massage months in advance as the website suggests.

The weather on the day I went was absolute perfection. It was sunny and cool, but warm enough to lounge outdoors on the moon loungers.

A day at Scandinave Blue is supposed to rejuvenate, revitalize, and relax you. I’d say it definitely did for me! Mission accomplished.

If you only plan to go to Scandinave for the baths experience, go. If you’re looking for more, try a massage. Bath access is $55 and a Swedish massage is $145. If you’d like to extend your visit, check out the packages as well as the getaway packages.

The Collingwood area is beautiful year-round, so anytime is a great time to go! And if you’re not able to get to Collingwood, there’s a Scandinave Spa in Whistler, Old Montreal, and Mont Tremblant.

Thanks to Mallory and Mylisa for arranging my visit. All opinions are my own.

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The Friday Five: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from Urban Barn

With Mother’s Day around the corner – on Sunday, May 14th – it might be time to start thinking about how you’re going to spoil loved ones in your life. Mother’s Day for me usually means a trip to Toronto to spend time with my mom doing everyday sorts of things – a garage sale perhaps, a trip to the mall, or just lounging around at home reading magazines. Mom and I enjoy many of the same easy-going activities. Heck, I’m sure we’ve even spent the day doing DIYs together! Mother’s Day is also a day to celebrate other moms in my life – my sister (mom of 4 cuties!) and friends, and to reflect on relationships I’ve had with other strong women who are no longer with us like my aunt and grandmothers.

In terms of gifts, I think moms appreciate any token. A card, a phone call, an email, a text, or a material object lets your loved ones know that you’re thinking about them. I like to spoil my mom with flowers because I know she appreciates them so much!

If you’re looking for some Mother’s Day gift ideas (and if you’d like to spoil yourself at the same time), you might want to have a look at Urban Barn. This Canadian retailer offers up-to-date items for your home – from big furniture pieces to smaller accessories. I’ve been to the Cambridge location numerous times, and there’s always something in white that catches my eye.

Today, I’m sharing five items from Urban Barn’s current collection that would make great gifts for loved ones.

Here’s an affordable container for a new plant or bouquet of flowers.

murl planter large, $19

Another place for flowers…or sangria…or water…is this pretty little pitcher.

webster water pitcher, $19

Little bowls like this one are perfect for candies, jewelery, or keys.

belize oyster decor dish, $29

If your mom needs a bedroom makeover, this dresser looks like it would be a great piece to add.

parker dresser, $1499

This bench would be beautiful in a garden. There’s also a full patio set, too.

piazza folding bench, $399

Many thanks to Urban Barn for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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Food: My Experience with a Juice Cleanse

I have been thinking about trying a juice cleanse for quite a while now, but it wasn’t until after Easter weekend that I finally decided to go for it. My stomach had been making grumbling noises for a couple of weeks – probably because my eating habits haven’t been great – and a weekend of eating chocolate at Easter made me feel full and uncomfortable. As such, I thought it was a good time to spring clean my body with a cleanse.

Cleanses get mixed reviews. Some people like them because they give our body a break, give us many nutrients intensely, and give us a fresh start. Others say that cleanses aren’t necessary and as powerful as they claim. I can see both sides of the story. I generally try to take the “everything in moderation” approach so that I can eat crepes one day and not feel like I have awful nutritional habits. And I thought that a cleanse could only help my body.

So, moving on to my actual juice cleanse experience. After doing a Google search for juice cleanses in Waterloo (since I didn’t want to do all the prep work on my own!), I came across Good Vibes Juice Co. I recognized the branding from seeing the juices at Vincenzo’s, and since I’m a sucker for beautiful design, I was hooked into the Good Vibes website and read all about the cleanse options.

I mentally prepared for a 3-day cleanse, went into the Good Vibes shop early Tuesday morning, met with the owners, Lloyd and Drew, and left with 24 bottles of juice. Each day, I was to drink 8 bottles (400ml each) of juice in the suggested order: Lemonade, Eby Apple, The Cool, Heartbeet, Sunkiss, Tiger, Envy, and Cocoagood.

Day 1

I was excited to get started. The first juice was basically lemonade, so it went down easy. The same was true for the second juice  – Eby Apple – which was a really delicious apple-based juice. I reached my third juice – The Cool – just after noon, and this juice, along with juice number 4, took me hours to drink. The Cool is a green juice, and while I didn’t mind the taste, I didn’t love it. Juice 4 – Heartbeet – is a beet-based juice and I didn’t like it at all. In fact, I only drank half of it because I didn’t want my taste buds to suffer.

I drank a lot of water throughout the day – as per Good Vibes’ recommendation and as per my usual habit. It really helped me wash down the Heartbeet juice (the beet-based juice) actually!

I had juice 5 – Sunkiss – around 6pm, and it was a delight. By this time in the evening, I wasn’t actually hungry (as I thought I would be), and I was feeling energetic and awake (no coffee all day, by the way). I still had three juices to go before bedtime!

Before I grabbed juice 6 (Tiger), I had a handful of almonds. I wanted to get rid of the taste of the other juices before I went for another juice. Drew and Lloyd told me that if I was hungry, almonds or raw veggies would be good options.

I skipped juice 7 (Envy), and I was quite excited for juice 8 (Cocoagood), which is made up of almond milk, maple syrup, and cocoa. Yum! I was excited for my “reward” at the end of the day, but I ended up only drinking half of it. I wasn’t hungry. This was certainly unexpected!

Day 2

I thought I would wake up starving, but I didn’t! The first two juices (Lemonade and Eby Apple) went down easily on day 2. The third (The Cool) was easier to drink on day 2 than it was on day 1. I struggled through the rest of my beet juice from day 1, and I ended up giving away my two unused Heartbeet juices to friends who appreciated the flavour much more than me!

Again – I wasn’t so hungry during the day, which surprised me. I did have another handful of almonds around 2pm. And I drank a lot of water throughout the day.

After work, I came home for the Sunkiss, then followed it with a bit of the Tiger (a carrot-based juice). Like on Day 1, I couldn’t actually finish all of the Tiger. I guess my taste buds are not so used to these flavours!

Again, I was really looking forward to the “reward” drink at the end of the evening. I definitely liked the sweeter drinks more than the healthier ones! Good Vibes provides the nutritional information online, and I discovered that my favourite drinks were the ones that were higher in sugar. Go figure.

Day 3

Last day! Hooray! The end is in sight! The cleanse has been doable even if I’m complaining about the taste of some of the juices.

My day was similar to day 2. I had a few almonds mid-day, and I made it through about 6 of the juices again…leaving out Heartbeet and Envy. I know that by skipping juices, I missed out on some of the nutrients, but I accepted this. I wasn’t hungry, and I was feeling energetic throughout the day.

I enjoyed my last drink – Cocoagood – around 8pm on day 3, and I felt great. While I wasn’t craving any of my usual favourite foods (pasta! pizza! Nutella!), I was looking forward to a nice latte the following morning!

Would I do a cleanse again? Yes.
I would do a 1-day or 3-day cleanse easily once or twice a year. Maybe even 4 times a year to go with the change of seasons. More than that – I’m not sure. The timing of this cleanse was perfect considering my work/life schedule, and I think that this helped me stay focused.

Would I recommend Good Vibes Juice Co.? Yes.
The opening hours of the store is convenient for me. This honestly made my decision an easy one. Beyond this and the gorgeous packaging, I appreciate all the ingredient and nutritional info that is provided online about the juices.

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The Friday Five: Waterloo Region’s ION

Every since I moved to Waterloo, people have been talking about The ION. They were probably talking about it before I arrived, too. At first, I had no idea what people were going on about because nothing was visibly happening in my neighbourhood. Then last summer, King St. was ripped up completely while the ION crew was working away, This is when I really noticed that things were a-changin’ in the region.

The ION, for those of you outside the Waterloo region, is our new light rail system. It will connect one end of the region to the other. The first ION train came to the area just a couple of weeks ago from Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant, and they hype has been growing.

Last weekend, the city hosted an open house so that the public could take a tour of the first ION train. I opted to take mosey on over, and I was surprised by the crowd of people! There was an incredible turnout on a sunny Saturday afternoon! This was history in the making, and it was interesting to see the public’s enthusiasm as well as all the different people and organizations who have been part of the ION journey.

Today, I’d like to spread the news and share with you some photos along with five things that I learned about the ION during the open house.

1. The ION’s light rail transit (LRT) is made up of 19 kilometers of rail which goes from the Conestoga Mall transit terminal in Waterloo to the Fairway Mall transit terminal in Kitchener.

2. There are about 60 seats in each LRT vehicle. Each vehicle can carry about 200 people.

3. The LRT vehicles are build by Bombardier. The Waterloo Region has purchased 14 vehicles. The first has arrived at ION’s Dutton Dr. headquarters (aka The site of the open house.).

4. ION riders and Grand River Transit riders (bus system) will pay one fair to use both services.

5. Stage 2 of the ION development will include a link to Cambridge. In all, there will be a 37km route connecting Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo.

I think developing in public transit is a smart option for our region. Yes, it is costing a ton of money (and I’m sure my taxes are paying for it), but in the long run, I think it makes sense for a region as developed – and developing – as this one!

Learn more at RideION.

Photos by Jordana.

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Food: Riviera Yogurt

Months and months ago when I was grocery shopping and my local Sobey’s, I picked up a package of Riviera yogurt. Now, I’m not much of a yogurt consumer. I buy Greek yogurt every so often, but I’m not a daily consumer. So when I saw this Riviera yogurt, I was mostly interested in the glass jars. They reminded me of France. So I picked them up and hoped for the best.

image via Riviera

Let me tell you, this yogurt is really good. It is like the yogurt I’ve had in France and Switzerland. I opted for the plain yogurt (I’m not that fancy when it comes to yogurt), but I’ve since bought the lemon yogurt (mostly because I like saying citron), and I like alternating between these two. The yogurt is delicious, it doesn’t upset my stomach (some yogurts do), and the serving size is perfect. Plus, les petits pots look fancy and pretty. Beyond plain and flavoured yogurt, the Riviera line also includes parfaits, cheeses, and milk. My local Sobey’s doesn’t carry everything, but the Riviera website helps you find locations where the Riviera line is carried.

So what do I do with the glass jars after I’ve eaten the yogurt? Well, they have so many uses! I’ve used my jars to store nuts, hummus, candy, and candles. You can order plastic lids in just about every colour online, and porcelain lids may be available, too (the website notes that these are currently out of stock).

If you live in Quebec and you don’t want to reuse your pots, you can drop them off at Renaissance. Otherwise, you can check out the 1001 tips for reuse.

pistachio dessert recipe and photo via Maison Orphée

photo via Riviera Facebook

For those who are interested to learn more about this yogurt, the Riviera line is part of the Chalifoux company, an award-winning, family-owned business based in Quebec. Oui oui!

Many thanks to Kathleen H. for sending me some lids for my petits pots.

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Art: The Artbarn Auction

I love when people see white goodies and think of White Cabana! That’s what recently happened to Shannon (8foot6) who emailed me this photo of Tamim Sahib Zader’s white-on-white silkscreen.

silkscreen by Tamim Sahib Zader

This art piece is up for grabs at the Artbarn art auction online (currently) and offline this Thursday, February 9th in Toronto. The funds raised are going to support the Artbarn art school.

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Architecture: Old Ontario Houses

When I was in the Niagara region recently, I took several photos of gorgeous houses, including this lovely yellow home. I always seem to notice new ones when I’m there. And each on in Niagara-on-the-Lake is especially interesting and unique. We have gorgeous properties in the Waterloo region, which I ogle, and I always paid attention to the details of these homes when I lived in London and Kingston. They ooze charm, and they catch my eye!

And that’s why I’m a sucker for the Instagram account called Old Ontario Houses. Do you know it? Caution – you may not notice the time fly by once you start scrolling and reading about the locations of each house!

Here are a few white ones that caught my attention as I was scrolling through the feed recently:

Yates Street Heritage District, St. Catharines

Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake

St. David’s

Jordan Village

St. Mary’s

St. Thomas

Since it’s #Canada150 this year, maybe it’s about time I – or we – should start paying extra attention to white architecture in our beautiful country!

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Travel: Niagara Icewine Festival, Niagara, Ontario

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? If yes, I’d like to suggest you take a trip to Niagara to tour the wineries, sip on icewine, and eat delicious food – all part of the Niagara Icewine Festival. I know it shouldn’t take much more than that to convince you, but if you need some more info before you plan your weekend, this is the post for you.

When I reached out to the Niagara Icewine Festival organization, the kind folks there kindly sent over a pair of Discovery Passes. I was eager to go to the festival because I had never been, and I thought it would be a nice day away from my weekend routine of chores, errands, and work. It turned out to be much more than that!

The Discovery Pass ($40) allows you to visit 8 wineries of your choosing over the period of the festival (January weekends). Planning can be done before you arrive in Niagara via the Discovery Pass Listings and Wine Route Planner. I didn’t actually plan too much before we set off, so I did some of the route planning during the car ride over. Although the plan did change a bit as the trip progressed because of chats with other guests and winery staff, it was nice to have some sense of wineries that I might enjoy. Because the participating wineries extended from Grimsby to Niagara-on-the-Lake, it was nice to visit wineries along the full route. Thank goodness for reliable GPS systems!

We began our tour at Kacaba (pronounced Ka-sa-ba) where we met David, a friendly and informative Kacaba employee. Here, we learned about Kacaba’s history and soon-to-be-completed expansion, sipped on Jennifer’s Pinot Gris, and enjoyed jumbo prawns with our icewine cocktail. It was a great start to the day!

From Kacaba, we headed to Stoney Ridge winery. Here, we sipped on some chardonnay and  munched on some apple smoked bacon mac n cheese. The winery has a specialty cheese counter, too. I wanted to try everything! And for dessert – icewine-infused marshmellows roasted on the outdoor fire pit.

After Stoney Ridge, we drove to Megalomaniac. We drove up a windy road through the vineyards, and were greeted by an impressive, modern  building that had been hidden by the fog. It was pretty remarkable. Megalomaniac’s branding is awesome with wine names like The Narcissist and Big Kahuna paired with labels designed to match perfectly. The staff were friendly and generous. Here, we tasted four icewine cocktails and marveled at the grandness of the building’s design and decor. And the fog – oh the fog was pretty dreamy!

We made another stop at Tawse with good intentions to enjoy the Discovery Pass, but we needed a break from wine sipping (imagine that). Instead, we took a tour of the facilities and had a very informative conversation with Julie, one of the friendly Tawse staff. I’d like to go back to Tawse in the spring/summer to explore a bit more. The cave-like setting was charming, and it certainly reminded me of French wineries. Tawse is also interesting because it’s an organic and biodynamic winery – apparently it’s a place where chickens roam. I must learn more!

So after these stops in the area of Vineland, we headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a hearty lunch before our next tour.

Our first stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake – and last of the day – was at Strewn Winery. The event was organized so that while guests stood at large tables in the cooking school area, they were served icewine paired with a chocolate ganache tart.

I honestly thought that visiting 8 wineries in one day would be doable. In fact, it isn’t. We spent almost an hour at each winery – sipping, eating, chatting, touring – and if you add in travel time, the day just flies! Plus, who can actually keep track of time when you’re in wine country surrounded by beautiful vineyards? If you’re planning a trip and would like to maximize your Discovery Pass, I highly recommend you stay overnight in the region.

On Day 2, we began in Niagara-on-the-lake at Reif Estate Winery (Reif is pronounced Rye-f). This easily became one of my favourite spots on the tour. The Discovery Pass had us enjoying icewine paired with porchetta. The pig wasn’t happy, but I sure was! The setting was old-world, and I learned that Reif is one of the oldest winery in Niagara. After visiting some of the younger (less than 10 years old) wineries, it was nice to see a place with a longer history.

From Reif, we drove down the road to Konzelmann. This is another winery with a longer history and German heritage. The staff was, once again, informative and welcoming. We learned about the family traditions, the building’s construction, and some of the plans for the future. The retail shop has bottles at various price points.

Stop number 7 (were you counting?) was Sue-Ann Staff Winery in Jordan. This smaller winery is run by a passionate owner and team. Here, our icewine was paired with a sweet potato crème brulée. Yes, I said sweet potato!

To wrap up the Niagara Icewine Festival adventure, we visited Redstone Winery (by mistake, actually) to enjoy a chocolate-infused chili with our icewine. Redstone is owned by the Tawse family, but the feel of the winery is quite different. While Tawse is old-world and cave-like, Redstone is industrial and bright. The building is absolutely stunning, and we learned that it has won awards in the architectural world (I didn’t take any photos of it, unfortunately!). While we couldn’t see the views from the restaurant on account of the fog, I imagine that this would be a spectacular place in the spring/summer.  I’d love to make a return trip here, too. (Are you sensing a pattern?)

As someone who had never been to the icewine festival, or Niagara wineries in general, the Discovery Pass was an ideal option for casual exploration. The winery listings is large, so there’s something for everyone. The pass is also a nice way to spread out your visits during the month of January if you live in – or close to – the region, since the 8 visits are not confined to one weekend of the festival. What I enjoyed about the tour is the variety of wineries that I got to visit as well as the stories and buildings to go with the incredible scenery. The people I met are certainly passionate about what they do!

The Niagara region is approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Waterloo. The drive is easy and pleasant, and it doesn’t include a 401 traffic jam in Milton (great news, right?). There’s one more weekend to go for this year’s Niagara Icewine Festival. Let me know if you have any questions if you’re planning a trip.

Thanks to K.H. at the Niagara Icewine Festival for arranging my Discovery Passes. All opinions, thoughts, and photos are my own.

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Art: Beauty in White

I’m starting off 2017 with art. While I have written about art regularly on the blog, I would like to add more art content to the pages of White Cabana this year. There are so many stunning pieces of affordable – and beyond my budget – art out there that I’d like to share it with you.

Under $100

 

Ballroom 2 by Haley Warner, Minted, $25USD for 10″x8″

Linger by Sarah McInroe, Minted, $25USD for 8″x10″

Scoring Through by Van Tsao, Minted, $25USD for 8″x10″

Under $200

Rose Petals by Jelena Kostic, $175, 20″x28″

Under $500

Diver II by William Stafford, $295USD, One Kings Lane

Molten Ecru by Simone Webb, $260CAD for 12″x14″

Think by Tommy Ingberg, $375USD

Over $1000

Queen drawing by Charles Pachter, $9500, Caviar20

Eileen Lake by Adolf Arthur Dehn, $3314CAD, 1stDibs

The Party is Over by Gemma Gené, $6400USD

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2016: Some Highlights

Yesterday, I gave a massive shout-out to all the brands I have been fortunate to work with in 2016. Several collaborations were the result of years-long relationships, and others were brand new experiences for which I am very grateful.

Today, I wanted to share some highlights from the year.

    • Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation: Because of generous donations from family and friends, as well as an October fundraising effort on my blog and social media (#WhiteCabanaWearsPink), I was able to donate over $1200 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Amazing! In addition to the monetary donation, I ran 5K (my first in a long while) for the CIBC Run for the Cure here in Kitchener-Waterloo, and it felt great to be running alongside survivors and supporters.
    • WhiteCabanaxStephenHawes: What started out as an informal “have you ever considered…” conversation with one of my MBA colleagues turned into an amazing collaboration with Waterloo potter Stephen Hawes. The first WhiteCabanaxStephenHawes collection was on sale for one week at the Robert Langen Art Gallery at Wilfrid Laurier University. The collection sold out! Happy! Happy!
    • Expedia.ca: Thanks to an amazing collaboration with Expedia.ca, I was able to tour Italy for 2 weeks with my Dad. Among many cool adventures, I attended a reunion lunch in Rimini with his highschool friends, and spent some time in Florence with one of his best highschool friends, and my cousin came along, too.
    • Langdon Hall: I have such admiration for Langdon Hall. The place is warm, the people are friendly, and the food is divine. Just last month, I was invited to an incredible dinner with Chefs Jason Bangerter (of Langdon Hall) and Jackie Lin (of Toronto’s Shousin). This was an evening that I’ll remember (and talk about) for a long while!
    • Blogger meet-ups: The online blogging community has paved the way for  real-life friendships. Our meet-ups have extended beyond brand media events, and I’m so thankful to have such warm and kind people in my life.
    • Triathlon relay: This was a last-minute decision, but I’m so glad my friends and I braved the rain to complete our first triathlon relay. My friend Chris was a great swim coach, and TYR generously sponsored our wetsuits for the event. While the swim didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected (ew-dark lake water), it was a positive experience, and I’m even considering doing it again next summer.

How about you? What were your White Cabana highlights? What posts were memorable? What did you enjoy reading?

Thanks to you, dear readers, for joining me on this journey in white!

via Minted

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Waterloo Region: Doon Heritage Village

Last weekend, Rox-Anne and I took a trip to Doon Heritage Village at the Waterloo Region Museum. Just a few weeks earlier, I had gone to the Museum, but the Village was closed, so we didn’t have a chance to take a tour. On this visit though, the Village was all decked out for its Country Christmas event, so it was a festive and cheery way to spend a couple of hours.

Doon Heritage Village is a “60-acre living history village that shows visitors what life was like in Waterloo Region in the year 1914.” I was impressed by the knowledgeable staff who provided us with information about food, tradition, family living, and marketplace routines as we moved through each of the buildings in the Village.

There was a lot of natural wood in the homes and merchant shops in the village, but I spotted quite a bit of white, too (as per usual…I’m always on the lookout!).

some tools by the fire in one of the home’s kitchens

wood and wood and more wood in a home’s basement storage area

saddles in the leather shop

white and wood in the leather shop

saddle supplies in the leather shop

pretty wreath on the church door

simplicity in the church

winter white

a glimpse of the loom in the rug weavery

a home dressed for Christmas

food storage in a home’s basement

I love this image of Father Christmas waiting to greet guests, and I’m going to be on the lookout for a wall match strike like this one.

Rox-Anne will be sharing more photos on Celebrating This Life this week, so be sure to check in if you’d like to learn more.Save

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Marketplace: White Cabana x Stephen Hawes

EEEK!!!! I’m so excited to finally share a full view of my new pottery collection!

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to work with a local potter, Stephen Hawes, to create a collection of pottery. Our collection is going to be sold at Wilfrid Laurier University’s new shop at the Robert Langen Art Gallery. Pretty amazing, right?

When I was approached with the idea, I was totally on board. But then I thought – ah – could I actually design a collection that people would want, that reflects my design aesthetic, and that highlights the potter’s skills? I was nervous at first, but the process went very smoothly.

I brainstormed and sketched out a bunch of designs. I had sizes and colour options detailed, too. Then Stephen and I met to discuss the feasibility and usefulness of each of the objects I designed. We also talked about colour variation (not too much, since this was going to be a white and black collection!).

Stephen got to work in his workshop, and we met again in the summer to review the prototypes. At that meeting, it was great to see the prototypes so that I could confirm or adjust each item’s design, colour, and size.

Another couple of months went by and then the collection was done. Poof! Stephen had fired everything up and was ready for the final reveal. I know I’m biased, but it’s beautiful. I like to think that this pottery collection is modern, easy, accessible, and versatile.

So…are you ready to have a look at some of the collection? Here we go…

White Cabana X Stephen Hawes

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use it for: hair ties, cotton balls, salt, mini cactuswhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_2

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use it for: drinking cup, pencils, straws, cheese sticks, Qtips white_cabana_stephen_hawes_5

use it for: fruit, salad, remote controls

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use it for: (L) pasta, salad, bread, rock garden; (R) candy bowl, popcorn    white_cabana_stephen_hawes_9

use it for: utensils, toothbrushes, strawswhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_10

use it for: popcorn, plant, mailwhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_11

use it for: milk, syrup, salad dressingwhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_12

use it for: (L) green tea, iced tea, water, wooden spoons; (R) spoons, sugar, soy saucewhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_13

use it for: Lego, chips, scarves

There are a variety of shapes and sizes in this collection, and the black lines of each object also vary. Each piece is unique and made with care.

The complete collection will be for sale at the Robert Langen Art Gallery in the library at Wilfrid Laurier University beginning on Monday, December 5th at 11am. More details here.

Thanks to Stephen Hawes for working on this project with me.
Thanks to Nick, Suzanne, and the Laurier Library for encouraging this initiative.

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Food: Langdon Hall + Shoushin

I absolutely do not know how to begin this post. Do I start by telling you about the 10-course menu? Or maybe about the first time I sipped on sake? Perhaps I could tell you about how I shared an evening with a group of strangers. A good place to start might be to tell you about how two celebrity chefs came together to plan a unique dining experience. Okay, you want me to just get to it, don’t you?

You already know that I’m a big fan of Langdon Hall. Ever since I drove up the winding driveway and saw Langdon Hall for the first time in June 2015, I’ve been hooked. It’s not just something in the water. There’s something in the air, the food, the surroundings, the garden, the architecture, and the people. The place is special.

A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to be a guest at an exclusive dinner prepared by Chef Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall and Chef Jackie Lin of Shoushin. This dinner was a celebration – and collaboration – of two cultures. It was a dinner that brought together tradition from the Japanese and French. It was a unique feast that showcased the culinary art of two incredibly talented chefs as well as incredible sake and wine pairings from Kado and Halpern, respectively. It was certainly a night to remember!

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A 10+ course meal? I trained for it! I only ate breakfast that day in preparation for the event! (Although I did have some Terroir upon arrival…do you blame me?). I’m pretty sure my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the extensive menu. Chef Jackie Lin prepared fish that was flown in from Japan for the occasion. Chef Jason Bangerter worked with Jackie to prepare and pair the fish with French flavour and flair, and, as per usual, he sourced many ingredients from Langdon Hall’s gardens. It was inspiring, educational, and delicious! It was chemistry. It was art.

British photographer Simon Boucher-Harris snapped a collection of beautiful photos that I’m thrilled to be able to share here.

Behind the scenes…

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(Simon took this photo of Chef Jackie during the cooking demonstration the following day, but it’s such a great photo that I had to include it!)

The dinner…

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Each course – as you’ve seen in the photos above – was paired with sake or wine. I had never had sake, so I was a bit hesitant, but since I was sitting beside Kiyoko Miyashita – sake expert and owner of Kado – I was given excellent explanations of what I was drinking. Sake has a higher alcohol percentage than wine, and it has a unique flavour. I thought I had tasted anise, but Kiyoko assured me that there was no anise in the drink. Althought I was told that the flavour is even better after the drink sits for a while, I could never seem to let mine sit for too long since it was so delicious!

As the evening was a celebration of two cultures, we were also lucky to sip on French red wine for some of the fish courses and the venison course.

It’s hard to put into words how special this evening was. Although many of the 30 people in attendance started the evening as strangers, after clinking glasses to toast, sharing travel stories and laughs, we ended the evening as new social media friends and conversations continued after the evening ended. To have two remarkable chefs collaborate to create a menu just for us, share their recipes, and mingle as they put finishing touches on our meals at our tables was extraordinary. Shoushin at Langdon Hall was a very good idea!

This event was a partnership between two well-recognized establishments – Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario and Shoushin in Toronto.

Photos by Simon Boucher-Harris.

Thanks to Langdon Hall for inviting me to be your guest.

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Real Estate: Yorkville Condo, Toronto

I saw this condo pop up in my Twitter feed, and I couldn’t help but clicking the link to learn more. The white and wood are absolutely my style. photo_22533334-666x500 photo_22533337-666x500 photo_22533352-666x500 photo_22533339-666x500 photo_22533333-666x500 photo_22533344-666x500 photo_22533343-666x500 photo_22533335-666x500

The Yorkville condo (high-end part of Toronto) is listed just under $1 million. Learn more via Sotheby’s.

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Beauty: The Langdon Hall Spa

Months and months ago, I was invited to the unveiling of the new Langdon Hall Spa. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted all the photos I took of the gorgeous space (oh, those walnut floors!), so I didn’t share it here. I did, however, create a hotel to home post featuring the spa’s marbled bathroom.

When I was invited back to Langdon Hall a couple of weekends ago for a ridiculously memorable dinner (more on that soon), I opted to begin my stay at the spa. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get pampered (as if the dinner and overnight wasn’t enough, right?) and experience the spa as a guest.

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I’m so predictable. No mistaking which locker is mine!

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Surely, I’m not the only one who loves a good embroidered bathrobe!

I arrived about an hour before my pedicure appointment as I thought it would be a good opportunity to enjoy the whirlpool, steam room, and sauna before my appointment. Good idea, I say! This gave me just enough time to get changed, relax, read a couple of magazines, and then enjoy a tea and treat in the lounge. If you go for a service, I would definitely recommend allotting some time to enjoy the water area. It was definitely relaxing and got me in the slow-spa-mood. You know what I mean? Forced relaxation…that’s what this gal needs!

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Spa guests are welcome to enjoy the whirlpool, sauna, and steam room before or after their services.

The spa is beautifully designed. The colours are calming, the decor is traditional yet current, and the furniture is extremely comfortable. I did not want to leave the chaise in the lounge, and I’m pretty sure another guest had fallen asleep on hers. Total relaxation!

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enjoying my tea and a magazine – covered in a light blanket!

I had a pedicure on this visit, and I was very pleased with the service and result. The Langdon Hall Spa uses only the best products (hello Valmont!), and the scrub, cream, and polish were all from SpaRitual – a vegan organic product line (The company has been around for just over a decade, but I first learned about it at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota this past summer).

Many of the products are also available in the spa shop. I think I need to go back to pick up the SpaRitual protein nail polish (I can’t remember its exact name.) Apparently, it would be good for my nails, especially during the winter months.

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a glimpse at the spa shop

Would I go again? You bet I would! I might try a massage at some point soon – I’ve never had one, but I’m thinking that it would be a great way to relax after my hectic school term ends.

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See you soon, Langdon Hall! You know it’s impossible for me to stay away!

Note: I don’t usually apologize for iPhone photos, but these look unusually blurry, don’t they. Any tips? Perhaps my iPhone went into relaxation mode at the spa, too!

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#WhiteCabanaWearsPink: Beautiful Pink on Instagram

Over the last few weeks, I’ve come across so many gorgeous photos on Instagram featuring pink lovliness. Many of the photos I’ve saved, I have to admit, I’ve collected from Leslie Shewring who is the co-author of Decorate for a Party. Have a look….

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Leslie Shewring

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Leslie Shewring

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Sketch London by Leslie Shewring

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Leslie Shewring

pink-paint-art-leslie-shewring

Leslie Shewring

pink-dragon-fruit-leslie-shewring

Leslie Shewring

pink-cloud-alice-in-her-palaceAlice in Her Palace

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Erica Cook

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Erica Cook

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Little Big Bell

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Tiffany Pratt

Aren’t these images so pretty?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Every Monday in the month of October, pink will be taking over White Cabana. This month, #WhiteCabanaWearsPink to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. Read more about #WhiteCabanaWearsPink.

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Event: #WhiteCabanaWearsPink

To raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, this October, #WhiteCabanaWearsPink. What does this mean exactly? Well, a few things. Let me share:

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Donation of Ad and Affiliate Income

I will be donating all income generated from affiliate and Google ads this month to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Click on all those sidebar ads (and buy stuff if you’d like). The more you click (and buy), the more that I can donate! Easy, right? I’ll try to highlight the affiliate links when I include them in my posts this month, so you can get extra click happy!

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CIBC’s Run for the Cure

I will be running 5K – in pink – this Sunday, October 2nd in Kitchener Waterloo as part of CIBC’s Run for the Cure.

I’ve been doing this run on-and-off for the last decade or so, but this will be the first time I’m taking part in my still-new-to-me city. Stay tuned for #WhiteCabanaWearsPink style posts.

If you’d like to donate, please do so at WhiteCabanaWearsPink. Every little bit helps, of course, so if you could forego a coffee or two this week and donate the money instead, I would be so darn thankful!

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#WhiteCabanaWearsPink Series

Every Monday, #WhiteCabanaWearsPink.

Yes, this blog has an all-white aesthetic. But you know what? Sometimes it’s good to explore other colours. So every Monday in October, I’ll explore pinkness in the design world. White Cabana through rose coloured glasses, I guess. Yes?

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Thanks in advance for your support, dear readers.

Fashion: Spotlight on Opelle Handbags

I’ve written about Toronto’s Opelle two years ago in this post, and I’m coming back to it because the collection of handbags is stunning. Co-owners Amy Malcolm and Beth Nicholson Crago have a beautiful aesthetic and their designs continue to catch my fashion-loving eye!

Vanda

Vanda, $261 (on sale)

BotanistBotanist, $253 (on sale)

Roberta-Opelle

Roberta Sling, $195

Lotus-Opelle

Lotus, $485

I really like how Milton-based blogger Sabrina Smelko has styled the Lotus Weekender two ways in her recent post. Here’s a peek:

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via Sabrina Smelko

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The Friday Five: 5 Things to Do in Kitchener-Waterloo This Long Weekend

Happy Canada Day! What goodness are you planning this weekend?

I’ve said it so many times here and in real life – I really enjoy living in Waterloo. This city – and region – has so much to offer, and I live such a happy, rich, and pleasant life here. Summer, of course, makes everything that much better, and this area has a lot of offer its residents and guests.

As we have just begun a long weekend here, I’m offering up five suggestions of things to do this weekend.

1. Go for a bike ride.

The Spur Line has recently opened up, and it’s a great way to take a ride to/from Kitchener/Waterloo. The trail is smooth, wide, flat, and lit, so it’s ideal for daytime or nighttime rides.

Alternatively, take a cruise down the classic Iron Horse trail to/from Kitchener/Waterloo. This was the first path I went on when I moved to Waterloo, and it’s still one of my faves. It’s great that it takes riders from uptown Waterloo (e.g., take a gelato break at Vincenzo’s) to downtown Kitchener’s Victoria Park in no time at all. The trail is smooth, flat, and surrounded by greenery.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventures, and are looking for more nature, then head over to Cambridge and ride to/from Cambridge to Paris along the Grand River. The ride is easy, but long (maybe 40+km). I suggest wearing padded shorts. 🙂

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Here I am riding my oldie-but-goodie bike down the Iron Horse trail in Waterloo. It’s such easy living!

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Here I am last summer on the Cambridge to Paris trail with the same oldie-but-goodie bike. I earned my lunch calories in Paris that day!

2. Stay cool at a public pool.

I grew up at public pools…first, as a youngster taking lessons, then, as a teen hanging out with friends, finally as a teenager/adult teaching swimming. I love having access to a pool, and luckily, there are few great ones in the region.

Moses Springer outdoor pool is large, clean, and definitely worth a visit.

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The lifeguard tower at Moses Springer.

3. Celebrate Canada Day with fireworks at Columbia Lake.

Although this will be my third summer in Waterloo, I have yet to enjoy Canada Day fireworks. Tonight, however, I’m hoping to head over to Columbia Lake to check out the action and colourful sky show.

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Canada Day Celebration – UofWaterloo Field Map

4. Try a new café.

My two current favourite cafés are the Berlin Bicycle Café in Belmont Village the Smile Tiger Coffee beside the Via Train Station. Both are accessible via bicycle, and both offer good coffee and atmosphere. The food at Berlin Bicycle Café is fresh and delicious, and I always find something good to eat. The egg salad is delicious, and the croissant sandwiches are good, too. Both cafés have outdoor patio space, so they’re great options for sunny days.

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The Berlin Bicycle Café

5. Take a drive into the countryside.

There are so many options for short road trips in the region.

  • Stay close and head to St. Jacob’s for a visit to the market.
  • Take a ride to Elora, pop into the sweet shops, and walk along the water.
  • Drive to Cambridge and pop into Monigram Roasters for a treat.
  • Drive over to Stratford and check out the first Balzac’s or grab a chocolate treat at Rhéo Thompson, then stroll around the lake.
  • Eat ice cream in any of the above towns!

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If you’re looking to learn more about what to do in the Waterloo region, please check out my Waterloo City Guide over on Design*Sponge.

Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone!

Happy Canada Day!

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Travel: What I Did in Calgary, Alberta

On Monday, I took you on a guided tour of Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary, Alberta. Today, I’m sharing with you a few other things that I saw and did in the city.a

I was in Calgary for work, so my week was quite jam-packed. In between work obligations, however, I walked as much as I could to see what the city had to offer.

I absolutely loved the design of this parking structure.

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I was surprised by the arches at the Hudson’s Bay downtown.

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I was amazed by this handmade silk Fortuny chandelier.

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I was impressed by the art around the city.

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I found this plant store quite charming.

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I missed seeing the inside of Lauren Bagliore‘s shop because it was closed when I passed by.

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I was surrounded by beautiful objects at Kit and enjoyed a good conversation about Calgary (and design) with one of the sales associates.

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I was happy to stop in to Bite for a treat.

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It was an incredible treat to spend some in-person time with Erica Cook (Moth Design) after being online friends for 6 years. This fireplace scene in her home is pretty recognizable in the blogosphere.

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…and it was an extra special treat to come home with some Erica Cook original artwork.

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I enjoyed an extremely delicious meal at Sugo.

White-Cabana-Calgary-Sugo-2 Overall, I really enjoyed Calgary. It’s a friendly city and very easy to navigate. Walking around was simple, and the C-Train was certainly convenient. I would definitely be interested in going there again and spending some time in nearby Canmore and Banff. I heard the scenery is just stunning. I would love to see that part of Canada!

To see more of what I did, what I saw, and what I ate, check out #WhiteCabanaGoesToCalgary.

Travel: Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Palliser, Calgary

After reading about Erica Cook’s (of Moth Design) stay at the Fairmont Palliser over the holidays, I knew that I wanted to make a visit while I was in Calgary.

One of the highlights of my trip to Calgary was enjoying afternoon tea at the luxurious Fairmont Palliser. The hotel had a special tea service to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_4White-Cabana-Afternoon-Tea-Fairmont-Palliser-Calgary_7

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I opted for a tea with bergamot because I love its flavour and fragrance.

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Tea time began with a martini glass filled with berries and devonshire cream.

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The tiered cake stand that our friendly server brought out included a selection of scones and jams (including Saskatoon berry jam). The middle layer of bites included an open-faced cucumber sandwich, a deviled egg, a salmon roll, and a curried chicken sandwich. My favourite of this bunch was definitely the salmon roll, followed by the curried chicken.

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The top tier was the one that I wanted to dig into first (but I didn’t) since I have such a sweet tooth! I began with the trifle in the sweet glass container. While I did want to eat more while I was there, I got the rest packed up and enjoyed them the next day. The strawberry cake was my favourite dessert of the bunch.

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Besides the deliciousness and the experience of enjoying the Fairmont Palliser’s afternoon tea, I couldn’t help but explore a bit more of the hotel. As one would expect of any Fairmont hotel, the details were superb and the architecture was classic. Just look at this stunning chandelier.

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The Fairmont Palliser’s Afternoon Tea was definitely a special break from my work week in Calgary, and when I make it back to the city, I’ll definitely take another trip to this pretty hotel.

Many thanks to Jacqueline and the Fairmont Palliser for sponsoring this post. All opinions and photographs are my own.

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